Northstar Care for Children helps more children grow up in safe and permanent homes by consolidating and simplifying the administration of foster and adoption assistance programs to support families caring for children in out-of-home care. More information can be found can be found on the department's Northstar Adoption Assistance Program webpage and the Northstar Care for Children page in CountyLink.
Minnesota Child and Family Service Reviews provide counties with a baseline performance measure across seven child safety, permanency and well-being outcomes, and 24 related performance items. This data, along with information from the individual county self-assessment and community stakeholder reviews, is available to support counties in their program improvement planning and overall child welfare quality improvement efforts. For more information, visit the Quality Improvement Practices and Tools page on CountyLink.
The five protective factors at the foundation of Strengthening Families are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Learn more about the protective factors on the Center for the Study of Social Policy website.
This support system facilitates access to experienced peer consultants regarding difficult child safety and maltreatment decisions with child welfare colleagues within 24 hours of initiating contact with a family. Consultation is available to county and tribal child welfare agency social workers and their supervisors or managers when making decisions about child safety. More information can be found on the Child Protection and Child Welfare Supervision webpage, or by calling 888-234-1138.
The department endorses the use of the Structured Decision Making System (PDF) for assessing child maltreatment in the home, which:
Child protection staff, supervisors and others involved in child protection intake and report screening must follow these guidelines, and immediately implement updated procedures and protocols.
Workers in a number of professions, including health care, social services, psychological treatment, child care, education, corrections, law enforcement and clergy, are required to report suspected child maltreatment. To help mandated reporters better understand the law and reporting requirements, the Informational Guide for Mandated Reporting training videos is available. This training is organized in six modules: An overview of Minnesota’s child protection system; the intersection of poverty and neglect, and a discussion of racial disparities; the basics of mandated reporting; physical abuse; sexual abuse; and neglect. The training is flexible, allowing users to navigate to any module at any time. The Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters of Child Maltreatment Concerns, DHS-2917 (PDF) includes more information about reporting suspected child abuse or neglect.
Medical Neglect: How and when to report
Neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. Medical neglect occur when a caregiver fails to provide necessary medical care by refusing or failing to seek, obtain or follow through with necessary medical care, posing serious risk to a child. Medical Neglect: How and when to report (PDF)
Minnesota's Best Practices for Facility Investigation, DHS-7593 (PDF) provides direction on protocols and best practice for child welfare agencies, promoting statewide standards for facility investigations. It contains protocols for the front-end of child protection responses. Except for where noted, these protocols occur after the intake, screening and response path assignment has occurred. All protocols required by law include a statutory reference.
Schedule training by contacting the Training Unit.
Foster care and other child welfare programs are provided through county and tribal agencies. Helpful information for prospective foster parents includes:
The Minnesota Assessment of Parenting for Children and Youth Practice Guide, DHS-7060 (PDF) is a comprehensive individual assessment that supports good practice.
Frequent, quality visits by caseworkers with children in foster care are essential to their safety and well-being at all ages. At each developmental stage, children's needs change, and so do the purposes of the visits. These nine brief videos each provide best-practice suggestions for different scenarios involving foster children.
Intensive Treatment in Foster Care is a set of clinical mental health services to meet the needs of children ages 0 to 21 living in a family foster care setting and suffering from mental illness and functional impairments, who need intensive treatment services and coordination surrounding their out-of-home placement.
County and tribal child welfare agencies are required to maintain and employ disaster preparedness plans that meet the needs of children in the care of the child welfare system.
In case of a natural or man-made disaster, all Minnesota counties and tribes must maintain and implement a plan for how state programs funded through Title IV-B, part 2, and Title IV-E would respond to a disaster, including steps to:
County and tribal staff should work with contracted providers to identify roles and responsibilities and include these provisions in their contract for services.
Background on this requirement
Across the country, natural disasters, man-made crises, or medical events can affect the routine ways child welfare agencies operate and serve children, youth and families. It is especially important for agencies caring for vulnerable populations, such as abused and neglected children, to prepare for these disasters. Federal statute, under the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006, now requires states, counties and tribes to develop and maintain plans in preparation for a disaster.
Create a Disaster Plan
Prepare to Manage
Enhance Critical Infrastructure
Develop communication systems:
Strengthen information systems:
Prepare staff and contractors:
Prepare families, providers and youth:
Child Welfare Disaster Preparation Plan: Minimum Criteria
Foster parents, relative caregivers, adoptive families, group homes, residential treatment centers, other facilities serving children in the care of child welfare agencies (e.g., psychiatric hospitals), and all children in the child welfare system, must be included in disaster preparedness planning. They need to know what to do during a disaster, and that the agency needs to locate them. In case of a natural or man-made disaster:
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 651-431-4727.
For children under guardianship of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the department's commissioner has the exclusive right to consent to the medical care plan for the treatment of children who are at imminent risk of death or who have a chronic disease that, in a physician’s judgment, will result in death in the near future, For details, including a physician's order not to resuscitate or intubate. For more information, see Policy on Allowing Natural Death/Do Not Resuscitate (DND/DNR)
Although strides have been made to lessen discrimination against minority sexual orientations, there remains both a lack of knowledge about, and some active negative bias towards those who identify on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Ally spectrum. The Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer youth DHS-6500 (PDF) practice guide is intended to increase the awareness, knowledge and skills of social workers and administrators in the child welfare system so they may effectively and competently meet the needs of LGBTQA youth and their families.
The database collects information about the independent living services Minnesota provides to youth and the outcome information from youth transitioning out of foster care. The state database is part of a federal effort to compare and evaluate these programs. To submit data, Minnesota case workers should use forms found on the Social Service Information System Resource Page.
The STAY (Successful Transition to Adulthood for Youth) Program offers services to youth, ages 14 up to 23, who are currently or were previously in foster care for at least 30 consecutive days after age 14, but are still working with county or tribal social workers. More information about the program is on this STAY Program page.
Current and former foster youth can get up to $5,000 per school year for post-secondary education at colleges, universities, vocational, technical or trade schools. The Minnesota Education and Training Voucher (ETV) provides the funds.
Hospitals are expected to:
County social service agencies are expected to:
Complete an assessment using the Minor Parent Assessment and Service Plan DHS-7981 (PDF) if they do not have a case manager.
The legal basis for this policy is MN Statute 257.33, subdivision 2.
For more information, contact the Child Safety and Permanency Division, Adolescent Services Unit, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-431-4685.
For policy and practice guidance, see Policy on Foster Care and Adoption Placement Decisions for Children Under Guardianship of the Commissioner and the Policy on Sibling Placement, Separation, Visitation and Contact, webpages.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 651-431-4727.
Transfer of Permanent Legal and Physical Custody is a permanency option available to children for whom reunification and adoption are not appropriate permanency options. This action permanently transfers both legal and physical custody of a child, which includes decision-making authority, to a relative. Northstar Kinship Assistance is a benefit available to support eligible children leaving foster care to live permanently with relatives via this placement. For more information see:
The Adoption Process Checklist for Children Under Guardianship of the Commissioner, DHS-6542 (PDF) is intended to help social workers and others with the adoption process for children under guardianship. More information is on CountyLink's Adoption and Guardianship webpage.
The department contracts with private child-placing agencies to provide adoption and adoption-related services to children under state guardianship or tribal jurisdiction. Five private agencies work closely with county and tribal social service agencies to place children with adoptive families or concurrent foster families. These partnerships maximize the strengths and resources of private agencies, and county and tribal social service agencies to ensure that children are placed in permanent homes, and that they and their families receive the support they need. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase of Service Agreements are child-specific placement services agreements between counties, agencies and the department. A child must be under state guardianship and have an Adoption Placement Agreement. Purchase of Service Agreements cannot exceed $16,000 per child per placement. For more information, contact crystal.graves@state,mn.us or call at 651-431-5723.