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Child Foster Care


For more information, please contact Paul Erickson at or (320) 968-5101 Please include your name, address and phone number.

Foster Care: It’s Purpose and Goals

The purpose of foster care is to provide a stable family setting to children when they are unable to remain with their own family. Care is given until the parents can resume their responsibility or until a permanent plan is made with relatives or adoptive parents. Children in foster care usually continue to visit their parents and family until they are reunited. The ultimate goal of foster care is to remedy the home situation and return the children to their natural parents. Sometimes foster families are asked to provide permanent foster care If reunification with a parent or relative is not possible.
Children can be in foster care for as little as 24 hours or up to a year or more.

Emergency/Short Term Care

Foster children can be placed in care any time during the day or night. Emergency foster families typically take children with very little notice and care for them until a relative or long-term placement can be found.

Respite Care

Respite is a short-term program that gives parents and foster parents a needed break from a challenging child. Respite providers go through the same licensing process as other foster care providers. Often times, respite providers are asked to make a commitment for one or two weekends a month for several months or for a week at a time.

Concurrent Planning

Minnesota Statute requires that children in foster care under the age of eight have a permanent home within six months of their initial out-of-home placement. During this time, social services is working with the parents to help improve the conditions that led to the placement so that the children can return to a safe and stable home. Social services is also working on a second plan during this time in case the children are not able to return home. This plan may include searching for relatives or friends who would be willing to provide care for the children on a permanent basis. If this is not possible, foster families are asked to provide permanent foster care, accept a transfer of legal custody or adopt a child in their care.

Relative Foster Care

Relative foster homes are licensed to provide care for a specific child or children with whom they already have a relationship. The provider does not specifically need to be a blood relative, but can be an important friend with whom the child has resided or had significant contact with.

Permanent Foster Care

Permanent Foster Care (also called Concurrent) are foster parents that are interested in providing a legal, permanent home for the child if the child can not return to the parents. Foster parents interested in adopting children in the foster care system fall under this category.

Foster Parent Licensing Requirements

Licensing Process

Information Meeting

Benton County hosts information meetings for persons interested in becoming licensed foster care providers. These meetings are typically held every other month, at the Benton County Human Services building at 531 Dewey Street, Foley. Please call Paul at 320-968-5101 to get next meeting dates. Application packets will be given out to those interested after the meeting.

During this meeting you will be given an overview of the child foster care rules, the licensing process, an explanation of how children enter the foster care system and the opportunity to ask questions.

Home Study

The applicant must cooperate with a home study conducted by Benton County. At a minimum, there must be one in-home interview and documented interviews with all household members over seven years of age. Home study forms are located in the application packet.

During the home study the applicant must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Provide consistent supervision, positive and constructive discipline, and care and training to contribute to the foster child’s well being
  • Understand Benton County’s programs and goals
  • Work within Benton County and State of Minnesota policies
  • Share responsibility for the foster child’s well-being with the foster 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 the child’s family and relatives and to support visitation and family reunification efforts
  • Have a current network of support that may include extended family, neighbors, cultural and community ties that the applicant can use to strengthen and applicant’s abilities, and for support and help
  • Meet the foster child’s special needs, if any, including medical needs, disabilities, or emotional disturbances
  • Deal with anger, sorrow, frustration, conflict, and other emotions in a manner that will build positive interpersonal relationships
  • Nurture children, be mature and demonstrate an ability to comply with the foster child’s care plan and meet the needs of the foster children in the applicant’s care.


MN Rule; Parts 2960.3000-2960.3340

MN Statute 245A

Department of Human Services Licensing Division