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Child Foster Care FAQ

Return to the foster care home page

What is Foster Care?

Foster care is temporary. It is a family setting for children who have been removed from their parent’s home. Foster care provides children with stability while their parents deal with the issues at hand. Foster parents are caring and stable people who can support and nurture a child. They help the child develop physically, mentally and socially - according to their needs. Foster parents work with a network of professionals who are involved with the child and his family. Foster parents mentor birth parents that are working toward reunification. They help children transition back to their birth home, transition to a permanent home or become the permanent home in some cases.

Some families are providing care for a relative while other foster families provide care for unrelated children when no extended family members are available to provide care.

How does one become a foster family?

Information Meeting
– Attending the information meeting is the first step in learning the basics about foster care--if you are a 2 parent household, both must attend. It is also a time to ask any specific questions you may have to determine if foster care is right for you. You will receive your application and all the necessary paperwork at this meeting. Due to content this meeting is for adults only; no child care is provided.   Foster Care 2015 Information Meetings Schedule

Orientation Meeting – The orientation meeting gives more in-depth information about the needs of children in Ramsey County. You will have a chance to ask many questions about the needs of children in foster care, discuss attitudes about parenting, and the affects of foster care on your own family.

Family Study – Once you have completed some of the basic license requirements, a social worker will be assigned to your home. They will visit your home to discuss your interest in foster care; any issues pertinent to the requirements for space and safety, your personal history, family interests, lifestyle, and child care experiences.

Nuts and Bolts Meeting – Once a person/family has met beginning requirements for foster care licensure, they are invited to a "nuts and bolts" meeting. This meeting highlights parts of the licensing rule as well as discusses the agency’s procedures related to foster care.

About Foster Children and Teens

Why are children placed in foster homes?

Children are placed in foster homes when they have been removed from their birth home because of abuse or neglect or other family issues that endanger their safety. Children visit their birth family until they can be reunited or parental rights are terminated.

If parental rights have been terminated, the children live in foster homes while waiting for an adoptive home. Sometimes the foster family becomes the adoptive family.

What is our greatest need?

  • Homes for teens.
  • We are seeking families who can provide a home for teenagers. We need homes that can provide the stability that teenagers need. We will provide the training and support. Teens need a family that can accept them for who they are, give them care for today, hope and preparation for the future.
  • Homes for sibling groups.

About Foster Families

Prospective foster parents may be married or single, renters or home owners, and must:

  • Live in Ramsey County
  • Be at least 21 years old, financially stable and responsible adults
  • Live in a home that meets fire-safety code and sleeping space requirements.
  • Complete an application for foster care
  • Allow the State Department of Human Services to complete a criminal history background check on all household members who are 13 years or older; and finger prints for all who are age 18 and older.
  • Provide Ramsey County with 3 references
  • Participate in a home-study that includes interviews with all household members
  • Each adult in the household must attend 12 hours training annually.
  • Must parent without the use of physical punishment.
  • Must be able to provide transportation for children to appointments.

Different Homes for Different Needs

Within the foster care system, there are several types of foster cares. Each plays an important role in the continuum of care for children in need of placement.

Traditional Foster Care: These families care for a wide variety of children who are treated as family members.

Relative/Kinship Care: These homes are licensed to provide care for a specific person(s) to with whom they already have a relationship. Families interested in providing relative/kinship care should begin their process by letting the social worker involved know that they are available.

Respite Care: Respite Care is a program that relieves birth parents and foster parents from the demands of caring for a high needs child. Respite care helps prevent burnout and can be a valuable tool in helping a child continue to live in their home. Respite care is arranged specifically to meet the needs of the child and families involved. It is often for one or two weekends a month.

Foster-Adoptive Resource Homes is a program in which foster parents commit to caring for the child, assist and support reunification with their birth family, and simultaneously commit to providing a legal, permanent home for the child if the child cannot return to the parent(s).

What does it Mean to be a Mandated Reporter?

  • Foster parents, including kin are mandated reporters who must report suspected maltreatment of children.
  • Names of people who report maltreatment are confidential.
  • MN statutes require that reports of maltreatment of children be investigated and reported to the state.
  • Mandated reporters who fail to report suspected neglect, physical or sexual abuse are guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Maltreatment includes neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse.
  • The common entry point number to make a report is: 651-266-4500.

Supports for Foster Parents

  • Parenting children does cost money. Ramsey County pays foster parents a State standardized rate monthly for room and board, clothing and personal needs.
  • Medical and dental costs are covered through Medical Assistance or other medical insurance, not the foster family.
  • Each child has a placement social worker and the foster family has a foster care worker to help them with problems and finds resources to meet the child’s needs.
  • Foster parents participate in on-going training/support groups.
  • Foster parents who speak Spanish as their primary language may call Sarah Contreras | 651-266-4785.