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The arrival of the railroad to Isanti County in 1899 would bring major change to the poor area.

Child Foster Care Licensing

What is Foster Care and why is it needed?

When children/youth have been abused and/or neglected or they have behaviors that are problematic in the family, the children/youth may need to stay in a place outside of their home.  This ensures safety for abused and/or neglected children/youth and allows children/youth who have problematic behaviors to learn new behaviors and an opportunity to practice it in a neutral environment.

The goal in foster care is always to reunite the children/youth with their family, thus, foster care is a temporary service.  A plan is designed with the family to stay focused on this goal.  For children/youth that enter foster care due to neglect or abuse, the parents are changing their lives to ensure the home to which the children/youth return is safe.  For children/youth with disruptive behaviors or mental health concerns, the family is learning new methods in dealing with the difficult behaviors or mental health concerns.  Also, to maintain their relationship, there are visits regularly scheduled between parents and children/youth.

ICFS is required to search for relatives of children/youth in foster care in case the child/youth is unable to return home.  Should a relative not be available to commit to raising the child/youth, foster families are asked to provide a permanent home for the child/youth, preferably adoption.

Foster Care Respite

Respite care is short term care which gives parents a needed break from challenging behaviors of a child. It is not a separate foster care program. Respite care parents go through the same licensing process as other foster parents. Respite care is needed for children with developmental disabilities and for children with behavioral and or emotional problems.

Children with Developmental Disabilities

Parents with children who have developmental disabilities may need respite care rather than longer term care. Some of our greatest respite needs are for providers who can care for children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Asperger's’s Syndrome, medically involved children and children in wheelchairs. Respite requests for these children are almost always for one child at a time. It is important to have prior experience when working with developmentally disabled children.

Foster Care Licensing Requirements

  • You must live in Isanti County
  • You need to be at least 21 years old, financially stable and responsible
  • You can be single or a couple
  • You must live in a home that meets fire-safety standards and have appropriate sleeping space
  • A Fire Marshal inspection may be required
  • Allow Isanti County to complete a history background check that involves submitting fingerprinting
  • Participate in a home-study that includes interviews with household members
  • Adults complete 12 hours of training per year per person
  • Car Seat Restraint training will be required for all persons transporting children age nine and under

Other things you should know

  • Foster children may share a room with other children as long as they have a bed of their own.
  • Foster parents need to have a flexible schedule and reliable transportation. Foster parents are needed to transport children for visitation and appointments several times a week.
  • Payment for foster care varies.  It takes into consideration actions taken by the foster parent that are out of the ordinary care for children.
  • Medical and dental costs are covered through Medical Assistance or other medical insurance, not the foster family.
  • Foster parents will have regular contact with parents and relatives of children/youth.


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

No. You may own or rent a trailer home, apartment, condominium or single family home. Foster care homes will require a State Fire Marshal inspection. If you rent, you will also need the landlord’s consent to be licensed for foster care.

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

Isanti County will provide all the preliminary training to become a foster parent. On-going training is provided by a variety of sources. Statute mandates a minimum number of hours for specific training.  In 2013, foster parents are required to complete 12 hours per person per year. Experience working with children is always a benefit. For providers caring for children age five and under, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Abusive Head Trauma training is required. For providers caring for children age nine and under, car seat restraint training is required.

Can I choose the age group?

Children from infancy through age 17 are placed in family foster care. You are encouraged to request age, gender, and duration of stay preferences. We also want to know whom you would wish to provide care for (i.e.: developmentally disabled, mentally ill, physically handicapped or teens).

How long is care needed?

The “average” stay in family foster care can range from three - nine months. Some placements can extend much longer and some shorter. Each child’s situation is different and determining the length of stay is difficult.

Will the family know where the child is placed?

The majority of the time families will know where their children are. If this information would endanger the child or foster family, the placement location would not be disclosed.

What is a concurrent home?

This is a licensed foster home that would be open to adopting the children should the children not be able to return home.

How do I become a licensed provider?

Call Isanti County Family Services at (763) 689-1711 to begin the process.