Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - Minnesota

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code R. 2960.3060

At least one of the following must apply to the applicant:

  • He or she has at least the equivalent of 2 years of full-time experience caring for or working with the issues presented by the children they will care for, whether they are the applicant's own children or other children.
  • He or she agrees to receive training in child care and development, as needed, in order to meet the individual needs of the children placed in the foster home.
  • He or she is related to the child needing foster care.
  • He or she is an important friend with whom the child has resided or had significant contact.

The applicant must be at least age 21 at the time of application.

The applicant and household members must provide a signed statement that indicates that they are receiving all necessary medical care, do not pose a risk to the child's health, and are physically able to care for foster children.

The applicant and adult household members must sign a statement that they have been free of chemical use problems for the past 2 years.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code R. 2960.3070

A nonrelative foster parent must complete a minimum of 6 hours of orientation before admitting a foster child. The foster parent's orientation must include the following:

  • Emergency procedures
  • Relevant laws and rules, legal issues, and reporting requirements
  • Cultural diversity, gender sensitivity, culturally specific services, cultural competence, and information about discrimination and racial bias issues
  • The role and responsibilities of the foster parent in the development and implementation of the case plan and in court and administrative reviews of the child's placement
  • Requirements of the licensing agency

Each foster parent must complete a minimum of 12 hours of training per year in one or more of the areas listed below or in other areas as agreed upon by the licensing agency and the foster parent. The topics listed are examples of inservice training that could be useful to a foster parent:

  • Crisis intervention, including suicide prevention
  • Children's psychological, spiritual, cultural, sexual, emotional, intellectual, and social development
  • First aid and life-sustaining treatment, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Preparing foster children for independent living
  • Parenting children who have suffered physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or domestic violence
  • Caring for children with disabilities
  • Management of sexual perpetration, violence, bullying, and exploitative behaviors
  • Medical technology-dependent or medically fragile conditions

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code R. 2960.3040; 2960.3050

The foster home must comply with applicable fire, health, building, and zoning codes.

A foster child must be provided with a separate bed suitably sized for the child, except that two siblings of the same sex may share a double bed. A foster child must not be assigned sleeping space in a building, apartment, trailer, or other structure that is separate from the foster family home or in an unfinished attic, an unfinished basement, a hall, or any other room normally used for purposes other than sleeping.

A foster child must have an identified space for clothing and personal possessions with cabinets, closets, shelves, or hanging space sufficient to accommodate clothing and personal possessions.

The dining area must be able to accommodate, at one time, all persons residing in the home.

Prior to licensure, the foster home must be inspected by a licensing agency employee using the home safety checklist. The applicant must correct deficiencies in the foster home that were identified by the agency. The licensing agency may require a health inspection if the foster home's condition could present a risk to the health of a foster child.

The license holder must give the licensing agency a floor plan of the foster home showing emergency evacuation routes. Emergency procedures must include a plan for care of children, evacuation, temporary shelter, and gathering at a meeting place to determine if anyone is missing.

A foster home serving children younger than age 6 must not keep reptiles, chickens, or ducks as pets. A foster home serving children age 6 and older that keeps reptiles, chickens, or ducks as pets must require a thorough hand washing following the handling of the animal, its food, and anything the animal has touched. Pets in family residences must be immunized and maintained as required by local ordinances and State law.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code R. 2960.3060

The applicant and household members must submit to a background study. Background checks must be conducted by the Department of Human Services according to § 245A.04, subd. 3, and by the Department of Corrections according to § 241.021, subd. 6.

The applicant must obtain at least three letters of reference that provide information about the applicant's support system, interactions with children, and ability to accept different points of view.

The licensing agency must make a determination as to whether the applicant can provide appropriate structure and is suitable to be licensed if either of the following has occurred:

  • A child for whom the applicant is legally responsible was removed from the applicant's home and placed in out-of-home care within 1 year prior to the date of application.
  • The applicant has a child in voluntary foster care.

The licensing agency may consult with a specialist in such areas as health, mental health, or chemical dependency to evaluate the abilities of the applicant to provide a safe environment for foster children. The licensing agency and the specialist must evaluate each applicant individually.

At minimum, there must be one in-home interview and documented interviews with all household members over age 7. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Provide consistent supervision and positive and constructive discipline
  • Work within agency and State policies
  • Share responsibility for the foster child's well-being with the child's social worker, school, and legal parents
  • Actively support the foster child's racial or ethnic background, culture, and religion and respect the child's sexual orientation
  • Accept the foster child's relationship with his or her family and to support visitation and family reunification efforts
  • Meet the foster child's special needs, if any, including medical needs, disabilities, or emotional disturbance

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code R. 2960.3020

The Commissioner of Human Services shall deny a license if the applicant fails to fully comply with laws or rules governing the program or fails to cooperate with a placing or licensing agency. Failure to fully comply shall be indicated by the following:

  • Documentation of specific foster home deficiencies that may endanger the health or safety of children
  • Failure to be approved by fire, building, zoning, or health officials
  • Documentation of a disqualification of the applicant for licensure regarding a background study that has not been set aside
  • Any other evidence that the applicant is not in compliance with applicable laws or rules governing the program

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 245A.035

A county agency may place a child with a relative who is not licensed to provide foster care on an emergency basis, provided the requirements of this section are met.

Before an emergency placement may be made, the following requirements must be met:

  • The county agency must conduct an initial inspection of the premises where the placement is to be made to ensure the health and safety of any child placed in the home.
  • At the time of the inspection or placement, the county agency must provide the relative being considered for an emergency placement an application form for a child foster care license.
  • Whenever possible, prior to placing the child in the relative's home, the relative being considered for an emergency placement shall provide the information required by § 245C.05.
  • If the county determines, prior to the emergency placement, that anyone requiring a background study prior to licensure of the home is disqualified, and the disqualification is one that the commissioner cannot set aside, an emergency placement must not be made.

The relatives with whom the emergency placement has been made shall complete the child foster care license application and necessary paperwork within 10 days of the placement. The granting of a child foster care license to a relative shall be under the procedures in this chapter and according to regulation. In licensing a relative, the commissioner shall consider the importance of maintaining the child's relationship with relatives as an additional significant factor in determining whether a background study disqualification should be set aside or a variance should be granted.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

In the case of a licensed foster parent seeking to adopt a child who is in the foster parent's care, any portions of the foster care licensing process that duplicate requirements of the adoption home study may be submitted in satisfaction of the relevant requirements of this section.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260.851

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

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