Child Foster Care Licensing

Foster Care Introduction

Child foster care homes are utilized when children cannot live with their own families. Children typically enter foster care due to neglect, abuse, or a family crisis or the child's acting out at home. Foster parents provide a safe, consistent, nurturing and stable living environment for these children until they can be safely returned to their families. Becker County Human Services is responsible for the licensing of foster homes located in the county. Additional foster homes are always needed, particularly homes that can effectively parent teenagers.

Foster Parent Responsibilities

Foster parents provide a temporary home for children when they cannot remain in their own home. Foster parents provide care to children until the parents can resume this responsibility or until a permanent plan is made with relative or adoptive parents. Foster parents need to be caring and stable, as they will be helping children through a difficult time in their lives. Foster parents must be able to provide for their own family's financial needs, be good listeners, flexible, have a good sense of humor and work well with others in a team effort. Foster parents receive a financial reimbursement to care for the needs of children.

Foster parents:

  • Provide the daily basics: food, clothing, shelter, as well as the love, stability, guidance and discipline that all children need.
  • Know that foster parenting will not make them rich or famous. Foster parents are people who are genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of children and parents.
  • Are people who believe that children are worthy of their best efforts every day.
  • Are supportive of reunification with the child's family.
  • Do all these things knowing that the child(ren) may only be with them for a short time.
  • Are acutely aware of the crisis, stresses, and social problems resulting from the abuse and neglect of children.
  • May have children living at home, have raised their own children to adulthood, or are without children.
  • Decide if a placement is appropriate for their family.

More Information

We hope this information will assist you in determining your next steps in becoming a foster parent.

  • If you reside with another adult who will be in a caregiving role, both of you will be considered applicants and shall be involved in all aspects of the licensing processes.
  • If you have questions please feel free to call Nicole LeDoux, Foster Care Licensor at 218-847-5628 ext. 5362 or send an email.

Foster Family Requirements

Prospective foster parents may be married or single and must:

  • Live in Becker County
  • Be at least 21 years old, financially stable, and responsible adults
  • Live in a home that meets fire-safety code and have appropriate sleeping space
  • Complete and pass an Adam Walsh Background check on all household members who are 13 years or older
  • Participate in a home-study that includes interviews with all household members
  • Participate in six hours of foster care orientation
  • Complete all necessary licensing paperwork
  • Attend 12 hours of ongoing training annually to learn more about related issues
  • Be free of chemical use problems for at least the past two years.

Types of Foster Care

Foster care services in Becker County come in several forms to address the specific needs of children and the foster parents who care for them.

Family Foster Care
Treated as family members, these children and teens receive full-time, short- or long-term care.

Kinship Foster Care
Relatives, family friends, and those with a significant relationship may be licensed to provide care to specific children in foster care.

Respite Care
Respite care provides a break for birth parents or foster parents from caring for children on a scheduled basis.

Foster to Adopt
Foster parents assist and support reunification with the child's birth family while committing to provide a permanent home for the child if the child cannot return to the parents or other appropriate family.

Foster Care Rules & Statutes

Below are the Rules and Statutes that are pertinent to each of the Licensing categories. We suggest that you visit the State of Minnesota Revisor's website using the links below to review and/or print each section applicable to your program license.

Getting Started

To begin the child foster care licensing process, complete the 4 forms available below.

Return completed forms to Becker County Human Services:

Forms can be dropped off, mailed, or emailed:

Becker County Human Services
ATTN: CFC Licensing
712 Minnesota Ave
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Email: Child Protection Intake

Home Visit

Once the above forms are received, the licensor will call you to schedule a home visit to discuss the process, set up orientation, provide additional paperwork, and go through the Home Safety Checklist (PDF) with you. For additional information review the Information Sheet - Single Family Dwelling, Child, and Adult Foster Care (PDF) from the Minnesota State Department of Public Safety Fire Marshal website.

We will also conduct interviews with your family in order to get to know you and share further information about child foster care. This whole process is called a home study and is required by the Minnesota Foster Care Rule (PDF) and the Department of Human Services.


Six hours of licensing orientation is required prior to becoming licensed. This can be done via group orientation sessions, individual sessions, and home visits. The licensor will provide you with information on how to complete these trainings. In addition, the following trainings are required for foster parents before licensed:

  • An Overview of Children's Mental Health (2 hours).
  • Normalcy, Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standards (1 hr).
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (1 hr within the first 12 months of being licensed).
  • If providing foster care to those eight and younger, CHILD AND RESTRAINT SAFETY TRAINING (CARS) (3 hours), this training is also required for anyone else you will be allowing to transport foster children.
  • Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) training is a required preservice training for foster parents of any child under age five.

Additional Paperwork and Requirements

  • State Fire Marshall Division’s fire inspection of your home is required if you are being licensed for more than three foster children, have a free standing solid fuel heating appliance, child will be sleeping in a room 50% or more below ground level, or the agency has reasonable cause.
  • Policies: Discipline Policy, Complaint/Grievance Policy, Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • Statement of Intended Use
  • Foster Parent Agreement Form
  • Floor and Escape Plan
  • A well test, if you have a well
  • Home Safety Checklist
  • Pets with be up to date on immunizations, a copy of their record must be provided to the agency

Additional Paperwork and Requirements

The licensing process can take up to six months. There may be things you need to do to bring your house into compliance. The timeliness of this process depends on a lot of variables, most importantly, your eagerness to complete the licensing process. Once the licensing and home study is completed, which takes an average of 3-4 visits (office interviews and home visits); the licensor reviews all of the application materials and makes a determination to recommend approval or denial of you the applicant's request for licensure.

The State Division of Licensing will respond to the recommendation and if approved, will send a license directly to the applicant. This generally takes a few weeks once the Department of Human Services office in St. Paul receives it. If a license request is denied, a letter will be sent to you within a few weeks that will include an appeal process.

An application can be withdrawn by the applicant at any time throughout the licensing process. However, if you decide to withdraw because of a failed background study, the licensor will have to recommend to the Department of Human Services, a denial of your application.

If the foster care license is denied, it could prevent you from obtaining a foster care license in Minnesota for a 2-year period.