January/February/March 2022

essentials foster care and adoption

January/February/March 2022

Recognizing National Adoption Day



In November, Hennepin County observes an annual recognition of National Adoption Month. On Saturday, November 20 – National Adoption Day – we celebrated with 20 families finalizing adoptions for 34 Hennepin County children and teens.

One Hennepin County family’s remarkable story was featured in local and national media:

Bloomington family celebrates adoption of 7th child on National Adoption Day | KSTP.com

With this milestone, the Workcuffs joined many other families on the adoption journey, including the Dubras, who adopted four siblings last year.

“Then I knew this was the perfect place to be,” said Heaven Dubra about her adoptive family.

Hennepin County National Adoption Day video: Meet the Dubras

Thank you to all the committed foster and adoptive families in Hennepin County, who do so much to support our mission to promote the safety, stability, healthy development, and well-being of our youngest residents.



Hennepin County foster providers earn recognition

MSSA’s Outstanding Child Foster Care Award recognizes exceptional foster care provided to children. Nominees for this award demonstrate an outstanding ability to provide a stable and supportive environment, which allows for children’s growth and development. This award is given at the regional level every year between August and October, and at the statewide level during MSSA’s Annual Conference & Expo in March.

Recently, two Hennepin County foster providers earned recognition for this award.

  • Earlier this year, Nancy and Doug Lawver received the statewide award, following an incredible 50 years of service caring for close to 1,000 children. The Lawvers were shelter parents for many years, and specialized in caring for children with complex medical needs.
  • In October, Alison and Daniel Miles earned the metro region award for their partnership with birth families, and their commitment and flexibility in caring for sibling groups.

Congratulations to the recipients, and thank you to all of our foster providers who provide exceptional care to Hennepin County kids. 

Wilder Research foster parent survey results


Foster care needs analysis: Report from Wilder Research

Last year, Hennepin County contracted with Wilder Research, an independent, third-party evaluator, to assess needs and gaps in Hennepin County’s foster care system and to provide recommendations for Hennepin County to better meet the needs of children in foster care.

The analysis looked at the years 2017-2019, with data sourced from the state and county, as well as surveys and interviews with foster providers and other key experts. Over 200 Hennepin County foster providers responded to the online survey. Thank you!

As you’ve heard over the last year, we are already doing our work differently as we focus on children’s well-being. Recent changes in foster care – reducing the number of placements children experience by eliminating the stop in shelter care; providing increased supports to children at the time of placement – are part of this broader effort.

This will continue. Hennepin County is developing a work plan as guided by the recommendations in the foster care needs analysis. The recommendations include focusing on foster parent retention, streamlining the licensing process, improving supports to foster families, and assessing data collection systems.
Thank you for the commitment you’ve made to Hennepin County children and families. Your input provided critical information to shape what we do next. We look forward to continued transformation together.

For questions about recent changes for foster parents, contact your licensor. For a copy of the foster care needs analysis, contact Katy Murphy.


Placement Support Team



As of January 1, Hennepin County is operating a new team of social workers to help with children’s transition to placement.

Learn more about the Placement Support Team in this interview with supervisor Perish Caldwell.  

Tell us about the Placement Support Team. What is their role?

We are a team of social workers whose goal is serve children immediately at the time of initial placement. We will work with children and families in those initial weeks of the placement, Monday through Friday and on-call on Saturdays. The idea is that we want to ensure that there are no gaps in needed support at this critical point in time for children. We will increase information-sharing between parents and foster providers and make sure that children’s immediate needs can be met. We will be here to support both relative and non-relative foster providers at initial placement.

What are some ways that you will be accomplishing those things?

We will coordinate initial foster care calls, or “comfort calls,” between parents and foster providers. We want to help you as foster parents get as much information about the child as possible, because we know that helps you provide the best care for the child right from the start. This also helps the child’s parents feel reassured, and creates a co-parenting relationship between the foster provider and parent.

We also are going to help with some of the concrete pieces that we know really matter. It may be that assistance is needed to set up transportation to school, or a child might need medication that they don’t have right away. We can assist with helping children get their belongings from home and work with families to get those important comfort items that we know mean so much to children. Another priority will be identifying children’s primary medical providers, and working with foster families to get children necessary medical care as soon as possible.

What are you most excited about as this new team gets up and running?

I’m excited to be a part of a team that is really keeping the children’s needs and well-being at the forefront. It’s rewarding to know that the work we are doing will benefit everyone involved: children, parents, and foster providers. This work has the potential to reduce parents’ anxiety about their children when they enter placement, reduce children’s trauma, and help better prepare and support foster parents. Ultimately, all of that really makes a difference for children.

Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC)



Let’s Band Together to Protect Each Other


*All bandage art created by Minnesota artists.

To learn more, go to: mn department of health

It’s more important than ever to “band together to protect each other.” By getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine, we can all stay healthier this winter. Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Everyone age 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sleep is important too! Sleep helps bodies heal and it improves immune function. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:


Hours of recommended sleep
0 - 3 months 14  -17 hours
4 - 11 months 12 - 15 hours
1 - 2 years 11 - 14 hours
3 - 5 years 10  -13 hours
6 - 13 years 9 - 11 hours
14 - 17 years 8 - 10 hours
18 - 25 years 7 - 9 hours


Other simple and effective tips to keep healthy:

  • Wash Your Hands frequently, it’s THE most important means of preventing the spread of infections
  • Cover Your Cough and Sneeze
  • Eat a Rainbow! Eating a variety of colorful foods helps build a great immune system!

This article is from the Hennepin County Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) program. Our goal is to raise awareness of our program and encourage healthy outcomes for children & families.

Call: 612-348-5131

Email: checkups@hennepin.us


Licensor's Corner


Fingerprint background study

On September 15, 2021, the Department of Human Services (DHS) resumed fingerprint-based background studies for child foster care. If you were licensed with an emergency background study, your licensor will be following up with you to let you know what date you would need to submit your fingerprint-based background studies to DHS.

With this, there is new process for fingerprint-based background studies that requires you to have an email address, as well as additional steps for you to complete.

We have outlined the below steps to help familiarize you with the process. Your licensor will help guide you through this process and help answer any questions you have along the way.

  1. Your licensor initiates the background study for each foster parent and any household member who is 18 and older. As part of this step, the licensor needs email addresses for each of those people.
  2. The foster parent will receive two emails that need to be acted on. The first email is from NETStudy2 requesting the subject of the background study to complete a consent and self-disclosure form. The second email is from IdentoGO for the subject of the background study to complete the pre-enrollment process and schedule their fingerprint appointment at a location that is closest to their home. Please note that each person needing to complete a fingerprint-based background study will need to complete each of the required links and forms in both emails from NETStudy2 and IdentoGO.
  3. The foster parent will receive a third email from their licensor with the NCAC code for each study subject who is getting their background study completed. This NCAC code pays for the $9.50 fingerprinting fee that is associated with each background study. Please note that each study subject will be assigned their own NCAC code and the NCAC code is not transferrable to another person to use. This NCAC code should be provided to the fingerprint technician on the day of the appointment. The study subject will also be asked to bring an acceptable form of ID to show the fingerprint technician on the day of the appointment as well.

As with all new processes, we are running into some questions and issues that we are still working to resolve with DHS and IDEMIA. We thank you all for your patience as we continue to work on making this process a smoother experience for everyone. Thank you!


Car Seat Training Requirements After the Peacetime Emergency

Car seat training is required for anyone transporting a foster child under the age of eight years. It must be taken at least every five years.

Because of COVID, in-person trainings were not held and there was a waiver in place, allowing online instead of in-person trainings during the peacetime emergency. Many of you met your car seat training requirement by completing an online training in 2020 or 2021.

If you met your requirement with an online course, you are required to take an in-person car seat training.

For foster parents who were initially licensed during the peacetime emergency

  • If your foster care license expires anytime after December 31, 2021, you must complete the in-person training by the date of your next license renewal.

For foster parents whose car seat training expired during the peacetime emergency

  • If your foster care license expires any time after December 31, 2021, you must complete the in-person training by the date of your next license renewal.
  • Car seat training must be taken at least every 5years; if you are unsure when yours expires, please contact your licensor.

Register for in-person car seat trainings with Hennepin County using your Hennepin Learning Account. Please note that once a training is full, it is no longer visible in the system. Car seat trainings can sometimes fill quickly, so register early if you can.

As always, you can find information about training at www.hennepin.us/fosterparents

Recruitment Corner


As foster parents, you know that most children in foster care return home to their families. Some are adopted by relatives or by their foster parents.

When these options aren’t possible, kids still need loving, supportive adoptive families. Many waiting children in Hennepin County are school-age or teens, or part of a sibling group. Help us spread the word and find permanent families for these youth. We are in need of loving families, like yours, that are willing to be a mentor, respite provider, foster family, or possibly an adoptive placement for these youth. 

Please help us find a family for Dajuan

Dajuan is a sports-loving 16-year-old who loves basketball, soccer, and hanging out with his friends. When he’s spending time on his own, he enjoys drawing and playing video games. Although Dajuan can be a bit shy when meeting new people, once he gets to know someone and builds trust, he loves to joke around and be silly.

While Dajuan is still unsure of what his future might hold, he is looking forward to finding his forever family. His ideal future family enjoys being active and playing and watching sports. He would also love to join a family with a dog.

A forever family for Dajuan means a lifetime of love, patience, and support. He has struggled with some subjects in school so it will be important for his parents to provide the tools he needs to succeed along with plenty of encouragement and support. Dajuan is also very impressionable so it will be important to monitor his friendships and other relationships. Dajuan would thrive with parents who can help guide him towards positive decision-making skills and have open and non-judgmental conversations that will help him navigate this important time in his late teens and early adulthood.

As a young black man, Dajuan needs a family who will help keep him connected to people of color in the community. Finding service providers of the same race will also be beneficial to help him stay rooted in and connected to his racial and cultural identity.

For more information on Dajuan or other Waiting Children at Hennepin County, please contact us at Adoption@Hennepin.us.




Foster parent training website

The Hennepin County foster parent website has been updated! You can now view the training calendar, review the training requirements based on whether you are completing initial, first year, or ongoing trainings, and print out the "Foster Care Provider Record of Training" form to document your trainings. View the training information online at Hennepin.us/fosterparents


Foster Parent College

Foster care training is in the process of creating accounts for foster parents. You will receive an email once registration is complete, with instructions on how to access your account. To learn more, go to Foster Parent College. In order to avoid being charged for trainings, please do not create an account on your own. Any charges incurred will not be reimbursed.


Foster Parent College trainings

Registering for foster parent college pre-recorded video trainings:

  1. Log into your foster parent college account (email fostercare@hennepin.us if you have not received account info)
  2. Click on the Personal Homepage tab
  3. Browse the course listing and choose a course that interests you
  4. Complete training

Trainings are available in both English and Spanish.


Hennepin Learning Account

All trainings listed as in-person on the training calendar require registration with a Hennepin Learning Account. Each foster parent in the home is required to create their own account and register for trainings. If you have not created your Hennepin Learning Account, send an email to fostercare@hennepin.us with your name, the name of your licensor, and "Hennepin Learning Account" in the subject line.

If you have had issues with creating your Hennepin Learning Account, contact Hennepin Online Service at 612-543-2200 for assistance.

If you have created your Hennepin Learning Account and have issues registering for training, complete the following.

  • Review the instructions on how to create the Hennepin Learning Account to make sure you did not miss a step.
  • After creating your Hennepin Learning Account, you should have received an email, which included an email verification link. Make sure that you clicked on the link to verify your account before registering for trainings. More information can be found on page 5 of “How to Create Your Account”.
  • If you created your Hennepin Learning Account but did not verify your email, you will receive an error message, an Email Reset message, or get locked out of your account after multiple log-in attempts.
  • If none of the above applies, make sure that the password you are using is the correct password. If you have forgotten your password, call the Hennepin Online Service at 612-543-2200 and tell them you need to reset your password for the E-gov/SABA system.

Please register for trainings early! The system will not allow registration the day before or the day of training.

Self-test: receive training credit



To complete the quiz below and receive an hour of training review this Essentials Newsletter. 

If two foster parents want to take the test and each receive an hour of training, please attach an additional answer sheet.


Once you have completed the test, email it to your licensing worker.



Licensing Worker:___________________________________


If you do not use email, please mail the completed quiz to your licensing worker at:

Hennepin County-HSPHD

Foster Care Licensing

Attn: _________________

300 South Six Street, Mail Code ______

Minneapolis, MN 55487



  1. What month is National Adoption Month?
    1. October
    2. November
    3. March
    4. July
  2. Hennepin County is implementing a Placement Support Team starting January 1st.
    1. True
    2. False
  3. The Placement Support Team supports relative foster parents only.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. The Placement Support Team can help foster families set up things like transportation and medical care.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. If you received an emergency background study to get licensed initially, you do not need to complete the fingerprint-based background study.
    1. True
    2. False
  6. Fingerprint based studies are free of charge.
    1. True
    2. False
  7. How many emails should you receive if you have been identified as needing a fingerprint based study?
    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. 4
  8. What age must children remain in car seats until?
    1. 5
    2. 6
    3. 8
    4. 9
  9. If you completed the online car seat training to get licensed, you do not need to complete the in-person car seat training.
    1. True
    2. False
  10. You can just show up to in-person car seat trainings without registering.
    1. True
    2. False
  11. Who should you contact if you are having issues with your Hennepin Learn Account?
    1. Your licensor
    2. Email fostercare@hennepin.us
    3. Call 612-543-2200 and ask for assistance
    4. All of the above






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