Child Foster Care Licensing Process
Child foster care homes are licensed by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The agency is represented by a licensing worker from Big Stone County Family Services. The licensing process can be expected to take up to six months to complete, possibly longer depending on the situation. It is a period of time in which you will be encouraged to discuss your expectations and plans, ask any questions that arise and begin to develop a comfortable working relationship with Big Stone County Family Services.
The following is a brief synopsis of the steps that you can expect to follow should you decide to pursue licensure:
- Submit a completed application form. Once the application is received by the licensor a background study must be completed on everyone age 13 and older living in the home and involves being fingerprinted and a photo identification taken (the licensor will provide you with the appropriate forms).
- During the first home visit, the licensor will discuss the child foster care program with you in more detail and offer you the opportunity to ask questions. The licensor will be interested in discussing with you what particularly interests you in caring for children; the number and ages of your family members that occupy your home; and the basic physical setting that you have to offer children that would be placed in your home. At the conclusion of the visit, the licensor will discuss and leave with you a second packet of information and forms to be completed.
- After the agency receives the second packet of forms from you, the worker will call to make an appointment for a second home visit. It is during this visit that the licensor will begin the home study and will complete a walk-through inspection of your home and will review the Home Safety Checklist with you to identify any possible health and safety issues that must be corrected to become licensed. If a fire inspection or water test is required, it will be at no additional cost to you.
- When all required forms are completed, and the water test and fire inspection have been completed (if applicable), then the licensor will schedule a third visit to continue the home study. Some of the information previously given to you for your study will now be discussed in more detail. There may also be additional visits needed in order to complete the home study.
- Once all information is received by the agency, the worker will review all obtained information and make a recommendation within 20 days. If approval is granted by the Department of Human Services, a child foster care license will be mailed to you by DHS. The initial license is valid for twelve months and specifies the maximum number of children that you may accept in your home. After the first initial license, each license will be valid for 24 months after relicensure is completed.
You will need to notify the licensing worker if, at any point, changes are made that could affect license (another person in the home, health deterioration, construction project on the home, etc.)
If you need assistance at any point during this process, please contact the licensing worker at 320-839-2555. Thank you for being willing to open your home to Big Stone County children in need.