The following is an overview of the licensing process. Once you apply to be a Dakota County foster parent a licensing worker will be assigned to you and guide you through the process.
Step 1: Attend a meeting
Attend a free informational meeting offered by Dakota County. This meeting will cover general information about child foster care.
Step 2: Complete paperwork
Complete the paperwork you receive from the informational meeting and return it to Dakota County Social Services. Fill out the paperwork in its entirety. You will also be asked to provide three references, including addresses and phone numbers.
Step 3: Schedule a home visit
Your assigned licensing social worker will contact you to schedule a home visit.
During the home visit the social worker will:
- Take fingerprints for all household members 18 and older
- Complete a walk-through of your entire home
- Complete remaining paperwork
Fingerprints are required and sent to the Minnesota Department of Human Services Background Study Division. Results will be mailed to the licensing worker and the applicants.
Your home may need to be inspected by a local fire marshal. If you home needs to be inspected, you will be asked to provide a cashier’s check for $50 to cover the cost of inspection.
Step 4: Complete training
Prior to being licensed, you must complete these mandatory trainings:
- Sudden Unexpected Infant Death/Abusive Head Trauma — if caring for children 5 years old and younger
- Car Seat Training (three hours) – if caring for children younger than 9 years old
- Children’s Mental Health Training (two hours) – required for all ages
- Resource Families’ Pre-Service Trainings provided by Dakota County
Step 5: Social worker will complete home study
Once background studies, paperwork and training is completed, the licensing social worker will complete your home study. The home study is a narrative that addresses the applicant’s childhood, how you were parented as a child, how you plan to parent foster children, your employment and relationship history, finances, and your family’s strengths and challenges.
Step 6: Minnesota Department of Human Services approval
After all parts of the licensing process have been completed the licensing social worker will send their recommendation to the Minnesota Department of Human Services for approval.
You will be notified by mail once you are licensed.
Step 7: Complete annual training
You are required to complete 12 hours of annual training in order to keep your license active, two hours must be mental health related training.
Licensing takes 3-6 months to complete
Delays in the licensing process will occur when:
- The submitted paperwork is missing information.
- Required trainings have not been completed.
- Appointments scheduled with your licensing worker have been cancelled
- Background study delays may occur if:
- In the past five years, you have lived in more than one state.
- In the past five years, you have lived out of the country.
- You have a criminal record and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Background Study Division needs to determine if record prevents licensure.
- You have been an alleged perpetrator in a child abuse or vulnerable adult case.
- There is a backlog of applications at the Minnesota Department of Human Services Background Study Division.