Foster Care Licensing
COVID-19 Update 03/23 10:00AM
The DHS Licensing Division would like to thank you for your commitment to Minnesotans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a typical day, the services you provide are critical to the health and safety of residents across the state and keep Minnesota’s economy moving. In this environment, they are more important than ever. Thank you for the critical role you play in our community.
Monday, 3/23/20 Gov. Tim Walz, issued Executive Order 20-12 and Human Service Commissioner Jodi Harpstead is suspending certain licensing requirements and activities to allow greater flexibility in these challenging times. This will give providers the necessary regulatory flexibility to comply with recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by modifying certain licensing requirements and ensuring the best interests of your clients and communities are met.
To assure the DHS Licensing is not interfering with the work providers are doing to care for their clients or service recipients during this pandemic, the Department of Human Services is suspending or modifying most licensing enforcement activity until May 1, 2020, as follows:
- Suspending routine licensing and certification reviews. (under 245A, 245H.05)
- Continuing to respond to critical incidents involving high risk of harm to clients or allegation of abuse and neglect — and prioritizing on-site visits as needed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will communicate with and provide technical assistance to providers to the greatest extent possible, using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
- Conducting on a case-by-case basis inspections for licensing applications, pre-licensure visits and change of premises inspections (under 245A.04). This is in order to prioritize enabling programs to provide additional capacity. DHS Licensing staff, county licensing staff and private licensing agencies will conduct these activities to the greatest extent possible using remote technologies that support social distancing and community mitigation.
- Suspending payment of outstanding fines previously ordered (under 245A.07)
- Suspending the issuance of fix-it tickets for licensed family child care providers and licensed child care centers (under 245A.065) and providing technical assistance
- Suspending the issuance of correction orders (under 245A.06) and providing technical assistance
- Suspending the issuance of fines under 245A.07
- Suspending the issuance of licensing actions other than Temporary Immediate Suspensions under 245A.07, subdivision 2 unless necessary to enforce pandemic or licensing regulations as necessary to enforce the health and safety of those receiving care or services.
- Automatically extending for three months licenses for family child care, child and adult foster care and community residential settings that are set to expire during March, April or May 2020; any training, re-licensing or documentation requirements are extended. (245A.04, 245A.16 )
- Extending training timelines for existing staff and license holders that expire during the declared peacetime emergency and cannot be met. Further direction on orientation and training will be coming.
County licensing agencies and private placing agencies are expected to comply with these suspensions or modifications of licensing activities. (245A.16)
The Department will provide additional guidance by March 27, 2020, to license holders on COVID-19 modifications to the background study process .
Any additional suspensions or modifications to licensing requirements will be specific to each type of service provided and will be communicated to programs electronically and will be posted on the DHS COVID-19 and the Licensing website.
Providers Should Follow MDH and CDC Guidance
Providers should first and foremost follow the guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available at the resources listed below. If a DHS requirement seems to conflict with this guidance, follow the MDH and CDC guidance:
- Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Statewide hotline for child care providers only: 1-888-234-1268 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
- Child care providers, please also see the Child Care Updatedistributed by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet earlier today.
- For COVID-19 information related to DHS programs, visthttps://mn.gov/dhs/
Thank you again for the critical services you provide.
DHS Licensing Division
COVID-19 Update 3/19 10:00AM
Scott County Foster Care Providers,
Thank you for your continued work with the children of Scott County. Our licensing team would like to thank you for your continued patience as our leadership teams monitor the spread of COVID-19 and evaluate the implications of the virus. Scott County is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of Scott County employees as well as our residents. As a result, there have been some new changes implemented that we feel are important to share with each of you.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the County Board declared a State of Emergency in Scott County due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As some of you may have seen in Scott County publications, immediate action that was taken which included the closing of all Scott County buildings, including libraries, to the public effective March 17, 2020 at 4:30pm. These closures will remain in effect until at least April 1st.
Another change that has been implemented at the county includes the suspension of in-person visits whenever possible effective 3/17/2020 through 3/31/2020. These visits include any of your annual and relicensing visits, as well as any on-going licensing visits with families to help them thought the licensing process. Your licensors will be reaching out to you to schedule and plan alternative methods for some of these scheduled in-person visits. Examples of these alternative methods could include telephone calls, video calls, text messages, or email. Although the Scott County buildings have been ordered to close to the public, your licensor is available and will still continue to be a resource for you with any questions that may arise in your home.
For providers who have a current placement or to those who could potentially receive a placement:
- Scott County is still urging parent child visits when possible
- If you are caring for a child who was placed through Scott County, parents do have the option to waive a visit due to the pandemic. If they choose to waive a visit, we would encourage another form of electronic communication if possible. (video chat, phone call, etc).
- If a parent or child is showing any signs of illness, this should be communicated to the case manager as it could result in the cancellation of a visit.
- During a visit, we ask that everyone practice social distancing and choose locations that can accommodate this practice.
As the situation continues to develop, we will share all pertinent information as soon as it is available to us. Our top priority is safety for all involved – this includes the children in your care as well as you and your family.
Here are some resources to help support and inform you:
- The Minnesota Department of Health has a hotline set up to address Covid-19 questions: (651) 201-3920
- Scott County Public Health is directing Covid-19 related calls directly to Public Health nurses: (952) 496-8555. They are also actively updating their website with new information as it comes up, so feel free to also utilize this resource: https://scottcountymn.gov/336/Public-Health
- The Minnesota Department of Health set up a school liaison email that they said also includes questions from childcare: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Minnesota Department of Health has a resource page with situation updates, prevention tips as well as information specifically for schools and child care settings: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
- The Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
This is uncharted territory for all of us and we are here to listen and answer questions as best we’re able. Please know how much we appreciate you and your compassion for children in need. You are providing an essential service and we thank you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your licensor with questions or to email with concerns.
Scott County Foster Care Licensing_________________________________________________________________
You can make a difference. Foster care is about helping children and adults in need. As a foster care provider, you will help children and adults learn there are caring, stable, and reliable adults there for them. In time, children or adults in your care will learn that times may be tough but you care and are willing to help.
Foster Care for Children
Children are placed in foster care when families are having problems and children cannot safely stay in the home. The Scott County Minnesota Foster Care Program works with biological parents to help improve the situation with the hope of reuniting them with their children. During this process, the Scott County Foster Care Program provides services to foster children to help them overcome the emotional, social, physical, or behavioral difficulties and provides training and support to foster care providers so they can offer a positive experience for children in their care. If reunification is not possible, permanent foster care or adoption is pursued. Relatives or family friends are encouraged to become licensed foster care providers for a specific child or children.
Foster Care for Adults
Adults may be placed in foster care if they cannot live alone safely because of disabilities or poor health. The foster care program provides and alternative for adults who need daily help but want to live in a family setting rather than a nursing home or other facility. The adult foster care provider provides meals, companionship, personal care assistance, and 24-hour supervision. The provider may be individuals, couples, or larger families.
You can help a person of any age. A person needs a nourishing stable environment in which to live regardless of his or her age - siblings, teens, young mothers and infants, and adults. There is a need of foster care providers for every age group. In fact, most children in need of foster care are older or a member of a sibling group.
Perhaps you aren’t able to provide foster care on a full-time basis for a long period of time. That doesn’t mean you can’t help. There are opportunities for emergency, short-term, weekend, and long-term care.
Ways to Help
After talking to a Scott County Foster Care professional and assessing your family situation and life style, you’ll be able to determine how you can help. There are several types of ways to provide foster care:
- Foster families - provide emergency or short-term care until a child can be safely reunified with a parent or until a permanency plan is put into action.
- Permanent resource families - provide care for a child while reunification with their family is actively pursued and commit to the possibility of adoption if reunification cannot take place.
- Adoptive families - provide care and nurturing to a child on a permanent basis. Adoptive families commit legally to raise children as they would a child born to them.
- Respite Care Providers - provide consistent short term care, maybe 1 or 2 weekends a month, to a child or children either from another foster home or from the parental home.