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


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

St. Louis County Foster Care Program provides all preliminary training to become a foster parent. On-going training is also provided through a variety of resources. Foster families are required to obtain 12 hours of training per year. Formal training and experience in working with people (child or adult) is always a benefit. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent should be open and willing to learn new skills and apply them within the foster care environment.

Do foster children need their own bedrooms?

No, children of the same sex are permitted to share bedrooms depending on the scenario provided that the foster child has space for personal belongings and opportunities for privacy. Children are not allowed to share the same bed.

Can a single person be a foster care provider?

Yes, you do not have to be married nor have children of your own to be a foster parent. You do need to be at least 21 years of age.

Can I choose the age group?

Yes, you are encouraged to request age, gender, needs of the child, and duration of stay preferences.

As a foster care provider, would I be responsible for medical bills accrued by the individual in place in my care?

No, the majorities of people in need of foster care are on Medical Assistance or will be covered by their own private insurance.

If I have a child in placement, will the family know where the child is? May they have contact with their family?

The majority of the time, families will know where the child is, and visits are scheduled as a part of the reunification plan.

Can foster parents adopt the children in their care?

Most children placed in foster care return to their birth parents or are placed with relatives. In a few cases parental rights are terminated. The agency is then required to first consider a permanent placement with relatives if that is in the best interests of the child. If relatives are not found to be appropriate, we would then consider all adults who have had a significant role in the child's life, including foster parents. Sometimes we do look for a foster/adoptive home when we know early on that parental rights will likely be terminated.

How long do children stay in foster care?

It is always difficult to know how long a child may be in foster care - most often the length of time is directly related to their parent's ability to engage in services designed to help them keep their children safe. As a foster parent, you may choose the type of placements you will accept. Some placements may last for a few weeks, months, or even years.

What are foster parents paid?

Foster parents are volunteers who receive a monthly check to help offset the expense of caring and providing for a child. The rate foster parents are reimbursed varies. It depends on each child's age and level of need.

Can foster parents work outside the home?

The St. Louis County Foster Care Program has working parents and stay-at-home parents who serve many types of children. Each child’s situation must be evaluated individually and some children have needs that require a full-time at-home parent. Working parents must have some flexibility in their work schedule so that the foster children can be transported to scheduled visitations, appointments, etc. which typically occur during regular working hours. As a working parent you need to develop a child care plan that includes after-school care and care for school vacations and holidays as foster children must be supervised by an adult 24 hours a day.

Will I meet the child before he/she is placed in my home?

The referring county social worker is usually working with tight time constraints and therefore "pre-placement visits" are generally not feasible. We will give you all the information we receive from the county social worker about the child initially and as it is received. You will need to be prepared to make a decision about fostering a particular child based solely on information we give you over the phone.

Once I am licensed, how long will it take to get a foster child placed in my home?

The timing of placements depends on the situation of the foster children in the foster care system. We match children to available homes based on the child’s needs, your criteria (age, sex, siblings, etc.) and the criteria of the placing social worker. Placements may be made within a couple days of being licensed or can take many months.

Can single people apply to be foster parents?

We recognize that single parents can give high quality care to a child. Single parents need to identify a back-up provider who can care for your foster children in your absence or illness, as foster children require 24-hour adult supervision.

What are the requirements for transporting children?

Foster parents are responsible for transporting foster children to school, doctor appointments, after-school activities, etc.,. In addition, foster parents are responsible for transporting the foster children to and from all court-ordered visitations which normally occur during working hours. If using their own vehicle, the vehicle must be in good running order and there must be enough seats, seat belts, car seats and infant car seats available for the family. In addition, we require that the person transporting the child must have a valid Minnesota driver’s license, current auto insurance and the ability to drive. The foster parent must also complete a Child and Restraint Systems Training. Foster parents can utilize public transportation but must plan accordingly to ensure the child is at all appointments, visits etc. on time.

Will I get to choose the age and/or sex of the child placed in my home?

As part of the application and home study you will identify the age and sex of child or children that would be most appropriate for your home.

What qualities should I possess to become a foster parent?

Generally, our most successful foster parents are open-minded, dependable, patient, and willing to learn new parenting styles for children with different needs. Having a flexible schedule, being tolerant of change and demonstrating the ability to follow our guidelines are all important qualities for success.