Foster Family Requirements


Prospective foster parents may be married or single and must:

  • Live in Clay 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 an application for foster care
  • Provide Clay county with three references
  • Provide a complete set of fingerprints to allow a complete criminal history background check to be completed on all household members who are 13 years or older
  • Participate in a home-study that includes interviews with all household members
  • Attend 12 hours of ongoing training annually to learn more about related issues

Different Homes for Different Needs

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

  • Emergency On-Call Care: A temporary, short-term care to children in crisis. Clay County has one foster family available 24-hours a day to take emergency foster care placements.  A stipend is provided for the on-call foster home.
  • 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) 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.
    • Family Matters Brochure (PDF): This Department of Human Services (DHS) brochure includes information about how to apply for a foster care license, background studies, and includes sample questions the agency social worker and relatives may use to assess the care needed to meet the child's individual needs.
  • 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 1 or 2 weekends a month.
  • Foster-Adoptive or Concurrent Permanency Planning: 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). When reunification is no longer possible, foster families may be asked to make a permanent commitment to their foster children by adopting them.

Foster Parents are Not Alone

  • Parenting foster children does cost money. Clay 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 Social Worker that assists the foster family in caring for the needs of the child.


Child foster care information from the Minnesota Department of Human Services: