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Foster Care FAQ’s

Common Questions

Here’s a list to the answers to the most common questions people ask about foster care. Contact us if you need further information.

Do You Provide Assistance After Adoption?

We believe that support shouldn’t end after your adoption is finalized. We WANT to stay in touch with you! We want to hear your updates and are available to help you work through challenges. We’ll connect you to resources and invite you to our monthly Proactive Parent Support Group. You can register for next month’s Support Group on our Family Support Services page.

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

The cost of adoption varies by program. For more details on specific program costs, please see our Application and Services Contract.

If a family chooses to have EVOLVE complete their home study while collaborating with another domestic or international agency, the family will pay EVOLVE’s home study/program/post placement fees and all program fees according to their chosen collaborative agency. Although adoption costs can be intimidating on paper, there are many creative ways to pay for adoption.

Please visit our Funding Your Adoption page to connect with helpful resources.

What Is A Home Study?

Every adoption requires a home study to be done by a licensed agency in your area. EVOLVE is licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

How Do I Get Started With Adoption?

Contact us to learn more about our programs and home study services. If you’re exploring, check out our Training and Support page for upcoming Informational Sessions. You can also set up a free individual information meeting to discuss your questions. There is no waiting list to apply with EVOLVE.

When you are ready to apply, please review the document: Completing an Adoption in MN. After we receive your Application and Services Contract with the application fee, the process begins. (There is no application fee for Foster Care)

Who Are The Children In Need Of Adoption?

EVOLVE has helped find families for children from the U.S. and 52 other countries. These children are boys and girls ranging in age from one day to 17 years old. Some are healthy, some have special needs, some are part of sibling groups. They come from a variety of situations and ethnic backgrounds.

What Adoption Programs Do You Have?

We facilitate Domestic Infant and International adoptions. For prospective adoptive parents living in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we provide adoption home studies and post-placement supervision for U.S. and international adoptions. Meet the families who are a part of the EVOLVE Infant Program here.

What Areas Do You Serve?

EVOLVE serves all of Minnesota, along with Wisconsin counties within a 200-mile radius of its Stillwater home office.

EVOLVE has the ability to serve families in the adoption process all over the United States. In the case of families outside of our above service area, EVOLVE will act as the child-finding agency. We will partner with a local agency who will provide your home study and post placement reporting.

Who Can Adopt?

At EVOLVE, we believe loving parents should be able to adopt without arbitrary restrictions. We are not religiously or politically affiliated. We work with singles AND couples, as well as people of any age, income level, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. There are many options, and we can help you figure out the best program for your family.

Anyone can become a foster provider.

It is important that providers meet the basic requirements:

  • Reside in the state of Minnesota
  • Be 21 years or older
  • Complete the full MN DHS Foster Care application
  • Pass a criminal background check for all household members over age 13
  • Complete a full Foster Care Home Study Assessment

In addition to these general requirements, EVOLVE holds other expectations of our foster care providers. Characteristics needed to be a good foster parent include: 

  • Stability 
  • Strong support system, surrounded by others that understand trauma, the needs of children in care, and the value of difference and uniqueness of each child. 
  • Flexibility 
  • Strong ability to advocate for the children in care 
  • Strong communication skills
  • Teamwork 
  • Willingness to learn and seek out opportunities that enhance understanding related to children in care 
  • Understanding of your own capacity and limits
  • Access to supports and/or being willing to ask for help when needed

EVOLVE strongly encourages families of color, and families who are open and have the skills to parent LGBTQ youth to consider becoming foster care providers.

What are the needs of children in foster care?

All children and youth, involved with the child welfare system have experienced varying levels of physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect. Many have been diagnosed with a psychological, behavioral and/or emotional disorder.

Is there a need for foster providers, who are open to the placement of infants?

While there are infants who come into care, this is not the need. That being said, younger children are often part of sibling groups.

Most of the children we work with are between the ages of 7 – 18 years old. Additionally, the child welfare system is disproportionately represented with children of color, specifically African American and Native American children.

Most have experienced physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse or neglect. Many have been diagnosed with a psychological, behavioral and/or emotional disorder.

What are the basic requirements to become a foster care provider?
  • Reside in the state of Minnesota
  • Be 21 years or older
  • Complete the licensing paperwork, including, but not limited to the DHS Application, EVOLVE Application, Individual Fact Sheet, Background Study Authorization, Discipline/Grievance/Alcohol, and Drug Policies, etc. 
  • All household members over age 13 need to complete a criminal background check; however, having a criminal history does not necessarily disqualify you from being a foster parent.
  • Complete a full Foster Care Home Study Assessment
How long does the licensing process to become a foster provider take?

The process of becoming a foster care parent takes about 3 to 6 months and we do our best to move at the family’s pace. The process length is largely based on the family’s pace in completing licensing​ requirements. 

Does it matter if there are other children in the home?

No. Foster parents can be parenting children in the home or have no children. However, the number of children currently in the home could impact the number of children in care that can be placed in the home.

What are the options in foster care?

Traditional Foster Care
Families provide care and ensure the health and well-being of children in care while birth-families complete case plan requirements, in order to achieve reunification with their children (which may include treatment, securing housing, parenting/mental health/chemical health assessments). Foster providers are responsible for ensuring that​ children remain connected to their community, peers, and birth families.

In the case that reunification is not possible, foster providers may have the option to be a permanency resource for the child/children in their care through adoption, transfer of custody, etc. 

What EVOLVE provides:

  • A thorough home study assessment of families, helping them assess their strengths and areas of growth in preparing to care for foster children.
  • Connections with multiple counties and intensive support to families once children are placed in the home.
What does it mean to be a foster parent?

Foster parents play a vital role in the lives of children in care.

While birth-parents work to complete various requirements to achieve reunification with their children, foster parents keep children connected to their families and communities, ensure the health and wellness of children in their care, support identity development, advocate for the children in care, and meet the various needs of the children in care.

Foster providers also work alongside of the child welfare team to meet the needs of the children in their care.  

Who do I contact to learn more about your services?

You may contact Jessica Boner, MSW, LISW, CISW, Senior Clinical Programs Manager at 651-342-2639 or jboner@evolveservices.org to learn more. Also, to keep up to date with our programs and agency in general, please sign up to receive our newsletter.

Do you come to people’s homes?

Yes, many of our services are provided in the home.

Do you remove children from their families?

No. Just the opposite actually, as we work to help preserve the whole family and keep the children with their biological parents. We also do not have the authority to remove children from their families.

Are you child protective services?

No. For some of our programs we receive referrals
from Child Protection workers and work in collaboration with them to help support the family.

Are Therapeutic Services available to everyone?

Great question! Short answer: It varies. Detailed answer: For our Brief Counseling and Families First programs, we are contracted through Dakota County and you must be referred by a worker from Dakota County to receive these services. If you do not live in Dakota County would like these services to be available to you, please have a representative from your county contact us.

For our Supportive Services to Foster Care Providers program, we are also contracted through Dakota County and you must be a foster care provider through Dakota County to receive this (confidential) service. If you do not live in Dakota County would like these services to be available to you, please have a representative from your county contact us.

To receive our Post Adoption Therapy please fill out this inquiry form. We currently accept the following insurance: Medical Assistance, UCare, and Optum.

Our Proactive Parenting Support group is open to all whether you are a client of EVOLVE or not. Historically this group has focused on adoptive parents but it is an open group that is fluid depending on who is present. To receive individual, couples, and family therapy please fill out this inquiry form. We currently accept the following insurance: Medical Assistance, UCare, and Optum.

What does Therapeutic Services involve?

Therapeutic Services involves various programs, services and supports
to clients from trained and qualified Mental Health Practitioners and Professionals. Therapeutic Services from EVOLVE may include the following: Parent coaching and education, crisis intervention, Diagnostic Assessments, psychotherapy/counseling for individuals, couples and families, using evidence based interventions and techniques specific to the client(s)’ unique situation and goals. We specialize in working with children and families with a specific focus on the well-being of children. Our Mental Health Therapists each have their niches within their practice and are very passionate about EVOLVE’s mission and Core Values.

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