Relative Foster Care

When children must go into foster care due to concerns about safety or well-being, the first option for placement considered is with relatives or kin. Relatives interested in caring for their relative children must comply with all foster care licensing requirements and become licensed.

It is important for you to know and consider the ongoing expectations of being a licensed foster care provider. By completing the application, you are agreeing to follow through with the foster care licensing process. Note that Minnesota Statute 245A.035 subd. 2(a) states, "A child placed in the home of a relative who is not licensed to provide foster care must be removed from that home if the relative fails to cooperate with the county agency."

For additional information, the Department of Human Services has developed the Family Matters (PDF) handout for relatives considering becoming licensed foster parents.

A social worker will meet with you to assist you with the necessary initial paperwork. When an emergency placement is made in an unlicensed relative home, the following forms and steps need to be completed:

  • The Home Safety Checklist (PDF) (prior to the placement or within 72 hours of placement). A fire marshal inspection may be required. You will need to make any required changes necessary for the home to be in compliance
  • Complete and sign the Minnesota Adoption and Child Foster Care application within 10 days of the placement
  • Complete the Background Studies Data Collection form on all household members age 13 and over. Minnesota Statute 245C requires fingerprints and a photo be taken for each background study submitted. Please note that certain criminal convictions and Child Protection history may disqualify you from becoming a licensed foster care provider
  • Any other necessary forms given by the licensing worker
  • Complete required pre-license training: children’s mental health & fetal alcohol syndrome disease, car seat safety (required when caring for a child under the age of 9 years), sudden unexpected infant death & abusive head trauma

If you live outside of Stevens County, complete the forms given to you by the placing worker and a referral will be made to the Human Services office in your home county to complete the licensing process.

The following are some of the other requirements needed to qualify for a foster care license:

  • Complete a Home Study which includes interviews of each household member
  • Participate in a follow-up home safety inspection to ensure all initial inspection issues have been fixed
  • Complete a Floor and Escape Plan
  • Obtain well water testing, if you have a private well. This must be done annually. Stevens County will pay for the test
  • Write a chemical use policy for your home
  • Write a grievance/complaint procedure
  • Write a discipline policy for your home
  • Provide verification of up-to-date vaccinations of pets in the home
  • Provide other necessary forms as required/requested by the licensor

Once licensed, each licensed relative must complete a minimum of 12 hours of training annually. There are a variety of ways training may be accessed; please discuss with your licensor if you have any questions on whether something can count toward the required training hours.

You should also be aware that as a foster parent you will be expected to help with transportation, supervise visits and participate in team meetings.

Deciding to foster relatives or kin is not a decision that should be made lightly and it is important to consider all of the expectations that come with this commitment. Please contact the Stevens County licensor if you would like further information about these requirements.