Minnesota foster and adoption guidelines

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Foster and adoption licensing requirements

Foster care and adoption licensing requirements are outlined in Rule 2960 of the Minnesota Administrative Rules. All kinds of families are needed. To foster or adopt, you can:

  • Be single, married, cohabiting or divorced
  • Have experience in parenting or be a first-time parent
  • Own or rent where you live

Specific requirements for home studies varies by agency, so be sure to ask for a list of the items and information your agency needs. The following items are commonly required during the home study process to foster or adopt (if applicable):

  • An autobiographical statement, a statement you create about your life history
  • Certified copies of legal records including (but not limited to): birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, death certificates, and adoption decrees
  • Background checks and fingerprints
  • Income verification (may include tax returns, W-2 forms, and paycheck stubs) to show that your current income is meeting your current needs
  • A statement of health provided by a physician, which might include lab test results
  • Written references from friends, employers, neighbors, etc.

Read more about foster care from the State Department of Human Services or call the National Foster Parent Association at 800-557-5238.

Costs to foster and adopt

Public or county social service agencies only place children who are in foster care. These county programs provide no-fee foster care and adoption services for county residents. If you choose to work with a public agency you must work with the agency in your county of residence.

When adopting a child through foster care, an adoptive family may qualify for reimbursement of some expenses. These “non-recurring expenses” include agency placement fees, agency fees for supervision of the adoptive placement, court and attorney fees, and transportation and lodging costs for the child and the adoptive family.

Agency contact and orientation information

The State Department of Human Services has contracted with Foster Adopt Minnesota to oversee the state adoption exchange and provide pre- and post-placement information to support to foster, adoptive, and kinship families and the professionals who work with them.

Foster Adopt Minnesota services include:

  • Education program: Online and statewide in-person workshops on a wide range of topics relevant to adoptive, foster, and kinship families
  • Zero Kids Waiting program: Online and phone-based information about adoption, foster care and kinship care in Minnesota.
  • HELP and Permanency Services program: Warmline for kinship, foster and adoptive parents, and professionals providing post-permanency support and guidance, and referral to therapeutic and supportive services
  • Post-adoption navigator: Providing information regarding post-adoption services in Minnesota
  • Post-adoption search services: Provides information and referral to birth families, adoptive families, and people who were adopted 

Contact us: Foster Adopt Minnesota
Phone: 612-798-4033

Post-adoption support services

See a comprehensive list of post-adoption and guardianship support services and support groups available to families who live in Minnesota.

Information on Minnesota's children

Source for this information are Child Welfare League of America's report Minnesota's Children 2022 (90 KB PDF) and Minnesota Department of Human Services fact sheet (56 KB PDF). To learn more, please go to the Minnesota DHS website, the Reel Hope Project or Foster Adopt Minnesota.