St. Louis County Foster Care helps provide temporary homes for children who cannot live safely in their own.  When kids cannot live with someone they know, they are matched with a licensed foster care provider.

The goal of foster care is to keep children safe while supporting families efforts to reunite. Most children who enter foster care return to their families.

Foster parents make a difference every day. The biggest reward is seeing the children develop and grow.

See All Foster Care FAQs

Steps to Becoming a Licensed Foster Care Provider

Below is a general outline of child foster care licensing procedures. 

  • Contact the St. Louis County Child Foster Care Licensing Unit to express your interest in becoming a Foster Parent or complete the online application and submit it via mail to:  PHHS, Child Foster Care Unit 320 W. 2nd St. Duluth, MN. 55802 (South office) or Virginia Government Service Building, Child Foster Care Unit, 201 South 3rd Ave W. Virginia MN. 55792 (North Office) or email applications to: (South) or  (North) or contact Heidi Severson (218) 725-5188 (South) or Michelle Brown (218) 471-7793 (North).


  • When the application has been completed, an appointment will be made for a home-site inspection. A visit from the state fire inspector may be required.


  • Prospective applicants must attend Foster Parent Orientation, which is typically offered every other month for open home applicants and every month for relatives in Southern St. Louis County. Orientation is offered twice a year or individual training as needed for applicants in Northern St. Louis County.


  • Background studies on all household members, ages 13 and older, will be initiated. Some of the other requirements include, Individual Fact sheets completed by each member 18 and older, home safety checklist, and three personal references.


  • The licensor will do a home study. This will include several interviews with prospective foster parents and their children. The contents of the home study will include family relationships, family activities, discipline techniques, communication skills, expectations of foster care, and ages and types of foster children desired.
  • The agency licensing process on average takes up to 3 months.


When all the licensing requirements have been met and the agency is recommending licensing, the agency shall forward its licensing recommendations to the Department of Human Services within 20 working days


Resources for Prospective Foster Parents

Child Foster Care Rules and Regulations


Current Training


Children's Mental Health

This video training is presented by Deena McMahon. This video defines mental health and specifically addresses how it impacts children's development. This training had been approved and will meet the children's mental health requirement for Foster Care initial and on-going training. 

Prudent Parenting

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act amended Title IV-E requiring states to support normalcy for all children in foster care. Children and youth in foster care need to experience the same types of developmentally appropriate and social activities that their friends, families, and classmates who are not in care experience. This new law permits foster parents, designated corporate foster care staff, and residential staff to allow foster children to participate in normal childhood activities by applying the reasonable and prudent parent standard. 

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death/Abusive Head Trauma (SUID/AHT)

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.  

SUID/AHT Training Videos
SUID/AHT Training Verification Form 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

The Minnesota Department of Human Services mandates that all foster parents complete at least one hour of training on FASD with in their first year of licensing.  This training has been approved to meet this requirement.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Training Video
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Post-Test

Additional On-line Video Training

Overview of Mental Health Issues

This training is a three part series by the Minnesota Department of Education and it provides a better understanding of children's mental health disorders and its impact on learning and functioning. Included in this series are three videos which highlight anxiety, depression and attention and behavior disorders. When all three sections of this training are complete, this also will meet the mental health requirement for Foster Care on-going training.

Anxiety Video (WMV)
Depression Video (WMV)
Attention and Behavior Disorders Video (WMV)
Anxiety Information Packet PowerPoint (PDF)
Depression Information Packet PowerPoint (PDF)
Attention and Behavior Disorders Information Packet PowerPoint (PDF)

Safe Sleep For Caregivers

Safe Sleep Clip (You Tube)

Keeping Families Together Video

This video is a guide for families to understand intensive treatment options for children with mental illnesses. On completion of this video training, training hours can be given to fulfill the mental health requirement for on-going training.

Keeping Families Together Video
Keeping Families Together Information Packet PowerPoint (PDF)

Additional training resources or information:

MOFAS – Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome –

NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness –

MACMH – Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health –

MCCCA – Minnesota Council of Child Caring Agencies -

MN Adopt –

CEED – Center for Early Education and Development –

PACER Center –

Minnesota Mental Health –

Foster Parent College –

Department of Human Services, Minnesota Child Welfare Training System –

Department of Human Services, Children’s Mental Health Division –




Foster Care Licensing

North St Louis County

Michelle Brown

South St Louis County

Heidi Severson