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. Clay County Social Services is required to make a recommendation for approval or denial to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services within 20 days of receiving all necessary information. 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 6 forms available below. Return completed forms to Clay County Social Services:
Clay County Social Services
ATTN: Gail Burnside
715 11th Street N.
Suite 502
Moorhead, MN 56560

By completing and submitting these 6 forms first the licensing process can proceed; thus, accelerating the entire process:
Fingerprint Cards
Clay County will then provide you the Adam Walsh Background Study Fingerprint Cards with instructions on how to have this step completed.

Home Visit
You will also be contacted by someone in our office to schedule a home visit to go through the home safety checklist with you. For additional information review the Information Sheet - Single Family Dwelling, Child, and Adult Foster Care from 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 and the Department of Human Services.

Continuing the Process
To continue the process, complete all 17 remaining forms / tasks found below and submit to the licensor:
  • Applicant Autobiography: This document is very lengthy but will assist your licensor in completing your foster / adopt home study.
  • Discipline Policy
  • Complaint / Grievance Procedure Form: 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: 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.
  • Hennepin County Children and Family Services Department - Caregiver Matching Tool: Hennepin County Social Services has given us permission to use their form. Clay County and the foster care applicant will use this form to determine what skills the applicant is interested in or able to provide foster children. Please complete and return along with the other documents.
  • Child Foster Care Training Record: Each applicant in a licensed Foster Family Setting is required to obtain 12 hours of training annually.  Foster Parents who care for children under the age of 5 are required to have Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Training. One option to complete this training is to watch six videos that are posted on the  Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) website. To receive credit for watching videos you must sign the SUID and AHT Training form. Foster Parents who care for children under the age of 9 are required to have a 3 hour training on Child Passenger Restraint Systems from a certified child passenger safety technician. Anyone transporting the foster child must have this training. A schedule of car seat training classes will be provided to the applicant once an application is made. Each of these trainings must be updated every 5 years.
  • Background Study Log: 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. If you do not receive a response within 45 days, you must contact the agency to inquire about the status of the study.
  • Foster Family Fact Sheet: Please provide a current photo of your family.
  • Furnace Inspection Form: This form will need to be completed by a licensed heating contractor when you have your furnace inspected.
  • 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 test kit. This test will need to be completed annually.
  • Pet Shot Records: Please provide a copy of pet shot records for each of your pets.
  • Statement of Intended Use
  • Agreement Between Foster Parent and Placement Agency
  • Home Safety Checklist: This will be completed during a home visit with your licensor.
  • Floor and Escape Plan: 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.
  • Minnesota Adoption and Foster Care Family Disaster Plan: This form is completed by the applicant to document the family’s plan in case of a natural disaster or catastrophic event requiring the family to evacuate their home. This form is required for families that intend to care for children receiving services from the public child welfare system. Also, please refer to Ready website for information about how to prepare and plan for your family in the event of a disaster.