Licensing Requirements

You can be single or a couple. It is not necessary to have children of your own, but it is important to have experience with children. You can live in a house or apartment. Foster children may share a room with other children as long as they have a bed of their own. If you work, you need to have flexible hours to transport children to appointments. You also need to be home and available when the children are home.


  • You need to be at least 21.
  • You must live in Goodhue County.
  • You should be 1 year from a major life change such as marriage, divorce, completion of chemical dependency treatment, birth of a first child, or a significant loss.
  • You must be willing to give permission to check social service and court records.
  • Your home must have at least 2 bedrooms.
  • Day care and foster care licensing should not be started at the same time.
  • Foster parenting is not a job so you’ll need to have enough income to meet your own household needs.

Licensing Timeline

  1. Complete the Foster Care Application Assessment Tool (PDF). Bring it with you to orientation.
  2. Attend an orientation meeting. Applications will be available at orientation. In 2-parent households it is strongly recommended that both parents attend the orientation.
  3. After receiving your application, Goodhue County Social Services will initiate background checks and request 3 references from individuals not related to you
  4. Complete pre-service training.
    • All applicants must complete Children’s Mental Health Training
    • Applicants wanting to care for children 9 and under must complete Child Passenger Restraint Training.
    • Applicants wanting to care for children 5 and under must complete Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Shaken Baby Syndrome Training.
    • Additionally, applicants must attend 1 of the following:
      • A minimum of 2 foster / adoptive / kinship classes. Topics include:
        • Attachment, separation, and placement
        • Cultural issues in placement
        • Discipline
        • Effects of caregivers on the family
        • Family systems and abuse / neglect
        • Impact of abuse and neglect on child development
        • Permanency issues for children
        • Permanency issues for families
        • Primary families
        • Sexual abuse
        • Team building
      • The Pre-Adopt / Foster Care Training offered by several public and private adoption and foster care agencies in Minnesota
  5. Once the training is completed, visits to complete your home study will be scheduled.
  6. The home study process will gather information about you, your history and parenting experiences, and expectations of foster care.

Additional Questions

If you live in Goodhue County and have additional questions about becoming a foster parent, please call 651-385-3200 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.