How To Get Started


Child foster care licensing is provided by Clay County Social Services. There is no application fee required.

Process Length & Questions

The process takes approximately 3 months depending on how quickly the necessary verifications are returned to our office. You should receive your actual license in the mail about two weeks following approval.

If you have questions, please contact the licensor. Thank you for your interest in child foster care.

Helpful Information

Helpful information is available below from web pages outside of the Clay County website:

Beginning the Process

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

Return completed forms to Clay County Social Services:
Clay County Social Services
ATTN: CFC Licensing
715 11th Street N.
Suite 502
Moorhead, MN 56560

By completing and submitting these 4 forms first the licensing process can proceed; thus, accelerating the entire process

Home Visit

You will also be contacted by someone in our office to schedule a home visit to go through the home safety checklist (PDF) with you. For additional information review 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.

Continuing the Process

To continue the process, complete all remaining forms / tasks found below and submit to the licensor at the licensing address above:

  • Applicant Autobiography: This document will assist your licensor in completing your foster / adopt home study.
  • Discipline Policy (PDF)
  • Complaint / Grievance Procedure Form (PDF): Every foster home in Clay County is required to have a program grievance procedure that permits persons served by the program and their authorized representatives to bring a grievance to the highest level of authority in the program. Use this form or develop your own complaint / grievance procedure. You are required to keep a copy of this policy in your home.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use Policy (PDF): Every foster home must have a policy that prohibits license holders, employees, subcontractors and volunteers, when directly responsible for person served by the program, from abusing prescription medication or being in any manner under the influence of a chemical that impairs the individual's ability to provide services or care. All of these individuals must be trained on this policy. You are required to keep a copy of this policy in your home also.
  • Background Study Log (PDF): A Foster home shall document the date you initiate a background study. When a background study is completed, a foster home shall maintain a notice that the study was undertaken and completed in your records.
  • Foster Family Fact Sheet (PDF): Please provide a current photo of your family.
  •  Well Water Test: If you do not have an approved municipal water system, your well water will need to be tested for Total Coliforms (indicators of bacterial pollution) and Nitrate Nitrogen. You may contact the Clay County Environmental Health Department for a well water sample container. This test will need to be completed annually.
  •  Pet Immunization: Please provide a copy of pet immunization records for each of your pets.
  • Statement of Intended Use (PDF)
  • Agreement Between Foster Parent and Licensing Agency (PDF)
  • Home Safety Checklist (PDF): This will be completed during a home visit with your licensor.
  • Floor and Escape Plan (PDF): This form assists an applicant in meeting the requirement of emergency procedures being planned, written and posted in the home. The floor plan must be posted in your home and we need a copy of the plan.

Training Requirements: 

Please complete the Attached Form (PDF) after viewing all the required training videos

Minnesota Statute § 245A.175. requires this training.

Normalcy and Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard Training: 

You must complete this training before you can be licensed. Please Complete the following:

Minnesota Statues, section 260C.212, subd.14 requires this training.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Training

You must complete this training within a year of receiving your license.  Please complete the following:

Smoke Free Foster Care

If there is an identified smoker residing in the home, you are required to view the following 20 minute video produced by the MN Department of Human Services

In MN all child foster homes must be smoke free and prevent second hand exposure to children per MN 260C.215, Subd. 4, 6 & 9. this includes inside the home as well as any space connected to the home, including a garage, porch, deck or similar space; all outdoor areas on the premises of the home when a foster child is present; and in a motor vehicle in which a foster child is transported.

If a foster parent fails to provide a smoke-free environment for a foster child, the child-placing agency must ask the foster parent to comply with a plan that includes training on the health risks of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Mandated Reporter Training

All foster parents are considered mandated reporters.  The law requires mandated reporters to make reports if they know of or have reason to believe children are being neglected or abused.  Please complete the following:  Mandated Reporter Training.

Training Required if Providing Car for Children 8 or Under

Car Seat Training

Car Seat Training must be completed before you can be licensed to care for a child age 8 or under.

  • If you are providing interim family foster care or concurrent/permanency foster care, please visit Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Training for more information about registering for a class.
  • Please talk to your licensor about attending a local class.

Car Seat Training is required by Minnesota Statute § 245A.18.

**Training must be completed once every five years when caring for children under 9 years of age.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUID) & Abusive Head Trauma (AHT)

You must complete this training before you can be licensed. Please Complete the following:

The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos to meet the SUID component when individuals are not receiving face-to-face, classroom, or online SUID training. All videos must be viewed to meet the SUID training requirement.

Watch these approved SUID online videos.

The Department of Human Services has approved the following series of videos to meet the AHT component when license holders are not receiving face-to-face, classroom, or online AHT training. All videos must be viewed to meet the AHT training requirement.

Watch these approved AHT online videos

Under Minnesota Statute § 245A.1444, child foster care providers caring for infants or children through 5 years of age must be instructed and receive training on SUID/AHT at least once every 5 years.