ADULT & FAMILIESChildren & YouthChild Foster Care   

Child Foster Care


Watch Foster Care videos featuring the perspectives of current foster parents and
St. Louis County staff.



St. Louis County urgently needs more foster families. Have you considered opening your home and heart to help children and families in need?

Children thrive best in their families.  We work to preserve families to prevent out-of-home placement whenever possible.  Most often foster care is temporary and children are reunited with their parents within a short time.

In Minnesota, when children must enter foster care, we first seek relatives to care for their children.  Preserving relationships with family members is crucial to a child's sense of safety and well-being.  When relatives are not available, County social services recruits community members to become foster families.  In Minnesota, more than 70 percent of children in out-of-home placement are in a home setting.

           ~~~~ New mandatory training for all licensed foster homes ~~~~
Normalcy and Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard Training


How Foster Care Helps

Foster Care provides a safe place for children who cannot live with their family, or on their own. Children enter foster care because of neglect, abuse, a family crisis, or the child's own needs. Foster parents help by providing stability, affection, consistency, and nurturing.

Foster Care is not meant to be forever. It is a temporary living situation, and children typically continue to visit their own families until they may be reunited. While the child is out of the home, St Louis County Public Health & Human Services works to provide services so the child can return to his/her parent(s). In most situations foster families will have some contact with the child’s family.


Foster parents help children and their families

Children need to feel safe and nurtured in order to learn and grow. Foster parents provide for the child’s educational, health, cultural and social needs. Foster parents bring children to doctor appointments, participate in the child’s education and attend cultural events in the community. Approximately 78 percent of children in out-of-home care are reunited with their birth parents or find permanency with relatives.

Foster Care enables children to:
• Remain in their communities
• Remain close to their siblings, other family members and friends
• Attend the same schools, team events, cultural and social activities.

Foster families play a critical role. Foster families may provide:
• Temporary, short-term care for children in crisis.
• Longer term care as families work through the reunification process. When reunification is not possible, foster families sometimes make a permanent commitment to their foster children.
• Respite care for children whose families may need a short break from their daily routine.

Types of Foster Care

General Child Foster Care: Families who are willing to open their home to children who are unknown to them. Families may take one child, sibling groups, or children from multiple families. Placements generally last between 3- 9 months. When reunification is not possible, foster families can be an option for permanancy. 

Respite Foster Care: This program relieves birth parents and foster parents for a specific relief period, often one or two weekends a month.

Learn More

For North St Louis County, Contact:  Jessie Schunk at 218-471-7793 or toll-free 800-450-9777 x 7793 or 
For South St Louis County, Contact:  Joan Summers at 218-726-2228 or toll-free 800-450-9777 x2228 or
Minnesota Rules for Foster Family Settings - Minnesota Administrative Rules Chapter 2960 covers the Licensure and Certification of Programs for Children. Parts 2960.3000 to 2960.3100 establish the minimum standards that a foster family setting must meet to qualify for licensure. Parts 2960.3200 to  2960.3230 contain requirements for foster residence settings. Additional licensing requirements for foster family settings that offer treatment foster care are in parts 2960.3300 to 2960.3340.