Child Foster Care Licensing

What is Foster Care and why is it needed?

Foster care is 24 hour care provided to children who are unable to remain in their family home due to abuse, neglect, or other safety concerns that are contrary to their well-being. Children can be placed into foster care by law enforcement, court order, or voluntary agreement.  Foster care and foster parents are to provide safety, care, food, lodging, training, education, supervision, or treatment that cannot be provided by the parent.

If a child has been placed out of the home due to disruptive behaviors or mental health concerns, the family will work on learning new methods to address those areas and maintain their relationship.  

When a child is placed into foster care the goal is to reunite the children with their family.  A plan is designed with the family to create goals and tasks to work towards reunification.  The parents are required to make changes to their lives to ensure the home to which the children return is safe.  

ICFS is required to search for relatives of children/youth in foster care in case the child/youth is unable to return home.  Should a relative not be available to commit to raising the child/youth, foster families are asked to provide a permanent home for the child/youth, preferably adoption.

Foster Care Respite

Respite care is short term care which gives parents a needed break from challenging behaviors of a child. It is not a separate foster care program. Respite care parents go through the same licensing process as other foster parents. Respite care is needed for children with developmental disabilities and for children with behavioral and or emotional problems.

Foster Care Licensing Requirements for Isanti County

  • You must live in Isanti County
  • You need to be at least 21 years old, financially stable and responsible
  • You can be single or a couple
  • You must live in a home that meets fire-safety standards and have appropriate sleeping space
  • A Fire Marshal inspection may be required
  • Allow Isanti County to complete a history background check that involves submitting fingerprinting
  • Participate in a home-study that includes interviews with household members
  • Applicants must complete pre-licensing training
  • Training must be completed annually once licensed

Other things you should know

  • Foster children may share a room with other children as long as they have a bed of their own.
  • Foster parents need to have a flexible schedule and reliable transportation. Foster parents are needed to transport children for visitation and appointments several times a week.
  • Payment for foster care varies.  Payments are calculated based on the actions taken by foster parents to provide care to a child outside of their normal daily care needs.
  • Medical and dental costs are covered through Medical Assistance or other medical insurance, not the foster family.
  • Foster parents may have regular contact with parents and relatives of children/youth.


Do I have to own my own home to do foster care?

No. You may own or rent a home, apartment, condominium or trailer home. In addition, some premises may require a State Fire Marshal inspection.  If you rent, the landlord's consent will be needed for the Fire Marshal inspection.

What kind of training or experience do I have to have?

In order to be a licensed foster parent you must complete the following training:

  • 6 hours of Foster Care Orientation
  • Car Seat Restraint Training-if caring for children under nine
  • Sudden Unexplained Infant Death/Abusive Head Trauma (SUID/AHT)-if caring for children under five
  • Children’s Mental Health
  • Normalcy and Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard

Each year you are licensed you will be required to complete 12 hours of annual training, which will include one hour of mental health training and one hour of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome training.

While it’s not required, experience working with children is always a benefit.

Can I choose who I foster?

Children from infancy through age 17 are placed in family foster care. You are encouraged to request age, gender, LGTBQ, ethnicity, and duration of stay preferences. It would also be important for us to know if you are interested in providing care for children that are developmentally delayed or medically fragile.

How long is care needed?

The “average” stay in family foster care can range from three - nine months. Some placements can be much shorter or extended longer. Each child’s situation is different and determining the length of stay is difficult.

Will the family know where the child is placed?

The majority of the time families will know where their children are. If this information would endanger the child or foster family, the placement location would not be disclosed.

What is a concurrent home?

This is a licensed foster home that would be open to adopting the children should the children not be able to return home.

How do I become a licensed provider?

Call Isanti County Family Services at (763) 689-1711 to begin the process.