New training requirements and registration process, get to know us, stories on recruitment and adoption

essentials foster care and adoption

New required training and registration process


SABA- Hennepin Learning Account System

Beginning January 1, 2024, the SABA Hennepin Learning Account system will no longer be used for training registrations. You will still be able to access your previous training information on the system, but no future trainings will be available on the system. Send all your requests for training registration to


Mandated Reporting – New Training Required

As a foster parent, you are a “mandated reporter” and are legally required to report maltreatment. Maltreatment must be reported if you have witnessed or have reason to believe that a child is being or has been maltreated within the last three years. Maltreatment includes egregious harm, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, substantial child endangerment, threatened injury, and mental injury.

If you suspect maltreatment of a child in Hennepin County, call 612-348-3552 within 24 hours of the information being known. If you need to report suspected maltreatment that occurred in another county, you should call the county in which the incident occurred. If a child is in immediate danger, you should call 9-1-1.

In 2023, a legislative change was made that requires all family child foster care license holders to complete training about the Maltreatment of Minors Act (MOMA) every year. This new requirement went into effect on January 1, 2024. As a foster provider, you will want to plan ahead to make sure that you complete one of the four virtual trainings that will be offered about mandated reporting this year. Keep an eye on the training calendar for the most up-to-date offerings.

Please visit the one-stop child foster care license website created for Foster Parents.
Find information about foster parent training requirements, registration, and schedules

Child and Teen Checkups

Child and Teen Checkups is a program for children and young people under the age of 21 who are on Medical Assistance. The program encourages a regular schedule of well child checks that help children and youth stay healthy. Healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults. Regular Child and Teen Checkups, also called well child visits, give parents, foster parents, and health care providers a chance to check children’s growth and development. They can identify any concerns and treat them early to prevent bigger problems later on.

Many children in foster care have missed getting these important checkups as well as their routine shots. They often have missed health problems that are treatable.

Please refer to the schedule below of when to bring in your foster child for their well child visits.



If you have questions about your foster child or youth health, talk to their clinic.

We can help!

The Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) staff are experienced in finding medical and dental clinics. We can help schedule appointments and set up transportation and interpreters, when needed.


    Questions? Call or email us today!

Get to know us

Throughout the year we will be introducing you to the placement support team and the supervisors in foster care licensing, ICPC (Interstate Compact on Placement of Children), adoption and intake.


Placement support team

Since January 1, 2022, Hennepin County has been operating a new team of social workers to help with the transition of children who enter their initial and the 1st subsequent relative foster care placements. This team is staffed by six social workers who provide support to children according to their immediate needs. The placement support social worker's role begins at time of placement and lasts up to 30 days depending on the child's needs. Some of the important supports provided by the placement support social worker consist of:

  • Assisting children in getting their immediate needs met. This can range from helping to obtain the children's belongings, comfort items, or medications from home to coordinating medical care or school support.  
  • Helping to increase information-sharing between parents and foster providers through coordination of initial foster care phone calls. These calls help parents and foster providers establish a connection early on and ensure that foster providers have the information they need to better meet the needs of the child(ren) in care. 

With the involvement of the placement support team, the goal is that children in their initial foster care placement will have what they need and won't have any gaps in their support during their transition to placement. Additionally, the intentional involvement of birth families, relative caregivers, and foster families will allow better care, support, and parenting for the children in placement.


Get to know our foster care program supervisors

The foster care licensing units (FCL) are led by Supervisors Terryl Gordon, Emily Palmer, and Liz Krough. Their units work to license relative and non-relative providers, in addition to corporate group homes.  Once families and homes are licensed, their teams offer support in maintaining those licenses.


Terryl Gordon

How long have you been in this role and what drew you to the field of foster care?
I have been in licensing approximately 12 ½ years. I came here as a result of finishing an assignment working on a project in a faith community. I was given an opportunity and chose foster care. I previously was a foster care provider.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? On the flip side, what is the most challenging part about your job?
The most rewarding part is knowing that children who are placed in out of home care have the opportunity to go to a home that has been vetted through our licensing process, that can provide safety and well-being until reunification or permanency can be achieved. Challenges come from the providers not having the support and resources to meet their needs in providing adequate care for the children, barriers/issues/concerns that surface during the licensing process, and not having enough placement resources to meet the need for children who can not be placed in relative homes.

What advice would you give to families that are just starting on their foster care journey?
Have patience. Understand the importance of supporting reunification efforts. Communicate regularly, especially with your licensing worker. Behaviors that children manifest are typically a result of trauma they have experienced. Don’t take it personally.

Is there a book or resource that you would highly recommend for foster families to read or know about?
Anything about trauma. Anything about the important role they play in the life of a child i.e. “Foster Care: One Dog’s Story of Change”, “Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care” and “Kids Need to Be Safe: A Book for Children in Foster Care”.

Outside of work, what are some things that you enjoy doing?
All things church, being with family and friends, TV, music and traveling.

Do you have a favorite saying or quote that makes you laugh, gives you peace, or provides you with wisdom?
Time changes everything. Life is what you make it. Keep the faith, God is in control.


Emily Palmer

How long have you been in this role and what drew you to the field of foster care? 
I joined the Child Foster Care team at Hennepin in the spring of 2020, just after everyone had packed up their things at the offices and started working from home. Before that, I had been a supervisor of Child Services Workers here at Hennepin and had already had many good experiences with the Hennepin foster families caring for the kids we were serving.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? On the flip side, what is the most challenging part about your job?
I have been working within the child welfare system since about 2005 and have not considered doing anything else since then! I’ve worked at a private adoption and foster care agency, for the state of Minnesota, and for Hennepin County. For me, working in a field where I can do my small part to support vulnerable children and the families who do the hard work of helping them heal has been very rewarding.

What advice would you give to families that are just starting on their foster care journey?
Be conscious about setting up a support system for yourself. Know who the encouraging people are in your life – the one who will be empathetic when you need to talk but also know how to lift you up when you are feeling particularly stressed. Don’t be afraid to reach out to workers to let them know when you feel overwhelmed or need help. And get to know other foster parents. They can be an invaluable form of support. If you don’t already know other foster parents, or former foster parents, consider joining support group Families Rising MN. You are always welcome to attend, even if you haven’t had a placement yet.

Is there a book or resource that you would highly recommend for foster families to read or know about?
I think that understanding childhood trauma is important for every foster parent. There are some great books out there like “What Happened to You?” by Dr. Perry and Oprah Winfrey or “The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr. Van Der Kolk. But if finding time to sit down for a heavy read isn’t likely happening for you, I would just highly recommend taking advantage of local educational resources. Hennepin County offers a lot of training options as does, where you can find reading, recorded trainings, and podcasts.

Outside of work, what are some things that you enjoy doing?
A lot of my time is spent watching my kids participate in their various sports and activities. My daughter and I have recently started playing pickleball and have fun doing that together. I love to kayak and be in nature. I also spend maybe a little too much time binge watching televisions shows.


Liz Krough

How long have you been in this role and what drew you to the field of foster care?
I have been a supervisor in Foster Care Licensing for almost 7 years. Prior to becoming a supervisor in 2012, I was a Licensing Worker for about 10 years. Supporting foster parents to care for the most vulnerable population – children in care - was what drew me to this position. The commitment and care foster parents give to our children is vital to their well-being.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? On the flip side, what is the most challenging part about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is hearing about the relationships that develop between foster parents and children in care, as well as the relationships that licensing workers develop with providers. The most challenging part about my job is not having enough resources to share with providers to help them deal with the many challenges children in care have.

What advice would you give to families that are just starting on their foster care journey?
Take good care of yourselves because when you are depleted, you don’t have the energy you need to care for others. Rely on your licensing worker for support and always advocate for the children’s needs.

Is there a book or resource that you would highly recommend for foster families to read or know about?
I recommend Emi Nietfield’s book, “Acceptance.” It is a memoir of her time in Hennepin County foster care and subsequent homelessness. Emi Nietfield graduated from Harvard and currently has a successful career as a high-tech engineer.

Outside of work, what are some things that you enjoy doing?
I love spending time with my grandsons, family and friends, travelling, hiking, biking, and reading. I stay very busy outside of work!

Do you have a favorite saying or quote that makes you laugh, gives you peace, or provides you with wisdom?
The Serenity Prayer provides me with peace. I also get strength from Nelson Mandela’s quote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


Welcome Amber Fogel, Recruitment Coordinator

Help us welcome Amber Fogel

Amber is our new Foster Care/Adoption recruitment coordinator. They come to us from Children’s Home Society of Minnesota and Lutheran Social Service where they were a social work supervisor. Amber brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the adoption and foster care programs. 

Amber, will you please tell us what your role is.

This role encompasses many things, but the main idea behind this role is to bring awareness of the need of foster care in Hennepin County, help families understand the process, and engage community members. This role also allows me to be an additional voice for children & youth in foster care.

What are you most excited about in the role?

The things that excite me most about this role are the opportunities I get to interact with so many different people and share about Hennepin’s Foster Care program. The system can be very confusing for many folks with all the ins and outs, and I enjoy being able to answer those questions and help people gain a deeper understanding. I am also excited that I get to be involved in planning events that bring youth and families together.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, you will likely find me spending time with my wife and our adorable 1 year old pup, Lucy. We love to take trips and explore new places! Outside of this job, I am also a part-time therapist, which I love. I definitely enjoy staying busy, so it’s uncommon that you’ll find me doing nothing!

Help us find a family for Taj


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 and 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, who are willing to be a mentor, respite provider, foster family, or adoptive resource for these youth.

Meet Taj

Taj (11) is active and willing to try new things. He strives to become an all-star boxer! He is a very intelligent kid and does especially well in math and reading. Taj believes in God, is interested in the Bible, and enjoys going to church. Taj says that he "loves building relationships, but hates losing them." He is a fun kid to be around with a great sense of humor. He enjoys trying different foods such as African and Chinese food but reports he would choose pizza as his favorite. Taj has a variety of interests including boxing, swimming, Pokémon, video games, gardening, and going to Valley Fair. He is a very good writer and is very insightful! When Taj gets to spend quality time with the adults in his life, he feels very special and values these moments. He is sweet, helpful, and caring.

Taj's Adoption Worker says “Taj desperately wants a family where he can feel a sense of belonging. Adding Taj into your family would also add humor, empathy, patience, and FUN!”

Ask more about Taj

Recruitment and adoption in the news

November was National Adoption Month, but our work doesn’t end there. All year we are working on finding foster and adoptive homes for our children.

Hennepin County Foster Care Licensing and Adoptions program manager Melissa Sherlock was interviewed by Mubina Fareed with the Minnesota Daily regarding foster care and adoptions. Melissa shares information on how many children are looking for adoptive homes,  are in foster care, and our work with AdoptUSKids. To read more on this article please visit The Minnesota Daily article Opinion: Building forever families.

Tyrone Fischer and JJ have found forever homes. Please visit Chance north Minneapolis encounter leads to new family, outlook on life for young boy by CBS and JJ’s FOREVER FAMILY by The REEL HOPE PROJECT

Give us your feedback - receive a $10 gift card!


Share your ideas and win a gift card!

We love hearing from you! Share your thoughts on the new year. What is your goal as a foster parent as we start off 2024? This question was asked in the last Essentials, but unfortunately the link didn't work.  

Complete this survey to share your ideas, and you'll have the opportunity to win a $10 gift card!

Share your ideas and be placed in a gift card drawing!

Entry forms must be submitted by Friday, February 9.

Receive training credit: Essentials self-test

We have made the quiz easier to submit! You no longer need to save or print the quiz to complete, or email or mail the quiz to your licensing worker.

Once you have read the Essentials, follow this link Essentials quiz to earn 1 hour of training. We will forward the quiz to your worker once we have received it.




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