Respite and out of state travel, cell phone, foster parent picnic

essentials foster care and adoption

Respite care and out-of-state travel


Key information to help you prepare and apply for respite care

Foster providers who are caring for Hennepin County children are eligible for up to 21 days of respite care each year. Respite care is short-term care provided in a licensed foster home, with the preferred resource being a Hennepin County home. If you have travel plans or need respite care for another reason, please reach out to your licensing worker to request respite care as soon as possible.

Tips to help you apply for respite care:

  • Reach out to your licensing worker at least 30 days in advance.
  • Complete the Child Foster Care Respite Provider/Substitute Caregiver Information Form and submit to your licensing worker prior to respite.
  • Have a back-up plan in place for respite in the event travel with the child(ren) is not approved.
  • Using private agency foster home may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
  • If you have established relationships with other providers and wish to coordinate care directly, please notify your licensing worker as these arrangements will need approval.
  • Please work with your licensing worker and the child’s placing worker to complete the necessary paperwork.

Traveling out of state with a child in care requires a Court Order.

As cabin season approaches, it is important to remember that traveling to neighboring states requires Court approval. Please obtain this ahead of time and always communicate travel plans to your licensor.

For more information regarding respite care or out-of-state travel, contact your licensing worker or review the Hennepin County Foster Parent Guide.

Operable phone requirements for foster homes

Can I use my cell phone?

DHS has received questions about what is considered an operable telephone in a foster home. An operable telephone may be a cell phone with active minutes, in which case a landline is not required. License holders must have a plan to keep the phone charged in the event of an extended power outage.

An operable telephone must be:

  • Centrally located in the home
  • Always charged
  • Accessible for all members of the family, including children in care or residents
  • Always have minutes available for use

The following devices are not considered operable telephones:

  • Personal cell phones that are typically only used by the license holder or resident child in care.
  • Phones that rely on Wi-Fi, even if they can call 911.
  • A nonactive cell phone, even if it can call 911.
  • Technology such as Alexa and Echo cannot be used as the primary designated device for making calls or contacting emergency services.

Save the date: Picnic and resource fair on May 18



Please join us on Saturday, May 18, for this year's foster care picnic! Mark your calendar for an afternoon filled with games, prizes, lunch and more. The event will also include a resource fair for foster parents.

Veterans Park
6335 Portland Avenue
Richfield, MN 55423

More information will be included in future Essentials.

Child and Teen Checkups

Children and Sleep

Sleep, or lack of it, is a common concern for parents. If children don’t get enough sleep, they may have trouble paying attention and become more prone to health issues as well as behavior and learning problems

Recommended sleep by age:

  • Babies (4 to 12 months): 12 to 16 hours, including naps
  • Toddlers (12 to 24 months): 11 to 14 hours, including naps
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours, may include a nap
  • School-aged kids (6 to 12 years): 9 to 12 hours
  • Teenagers (13 to 18 years): 8 to 10 hours

For kids of all ages, a bedtime routine can encourage good sleep habits.

  • Set bed and wake up times at the same time each day, including weekends, and avoid large meals or caffeine before bed.
  • Follow a routine like reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to quiet music before bed.
  • Turn off all screens such as TV, computers, phones and video games at least an hour before bedtime.


If you have questions about the children you are caring for or youth health, 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


Highlighting our Adoption Resource Worker (ARW) Supervisors: Angie Marks, Born Chea and Carly Cantu


Born Chea

How long have you been in the adoption’s supervisor role?
13 years

What is the most rewarding and most challenging part of your job?

Seeing the joy and happiness on the faces of families and children when they finalized their adoption. Being able to witness the positive impact that adoption has on both the child and the family is truly heartwarming, and seeing the growth, love and connection that develops between them is a constant reminder of why we chose this profession.

What I find challenging is managing the emotions and expectations of both the prospective adoptive parents and the children waiting to be adopted. It can be challenging to ensure that each adoption is a successful and positive experience for all parties involved. And also, seeing youth aging out of the system without being adopted is difficult.

Is there a book or resource that you would recommend for adoptive families?There are several books and resources that cover various aspects of adoption, including attachment, parenting strategies and understanding the emotional experiences of adopted children.

  1. The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family
    by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine
  2. Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew
    by Sherrie Eldridge
  3. The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
    by Nancy Verrier
  4. Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections
    by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae
  5. The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden and Crystal Hass

What encouraging words do you have for families that are looking to adopt and/or have finalized an adoption?
Adopting a child is a beautiful and selfless act that can bring immense joy and love into a family's life. The decision to adopt itself is a courageous and compassionate one. The willingness to open your hearts and homes to a child is a testament to your capacity for love and your desire to create a nurturing and inclusive family. Furthermore, adoption is a unique and meaningful journey filled with its own challenges and rewards. With that being said, by choosing to adopt, you have the opportunity to make a significant and positive impact on a child's life. You can provide them with stability, support, and a loving home that they may not have otherwise experienced. So, embrace the process and remember that every step brings you closer to welcoming a new member into your family.


Angie Marks

How long have you been in the adoptions supervisor role?
I’ve been an ARW supervisor since April 2017 and a social history supervisor since June 2016.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love my job. It’s difficult to choose one piece as the most rewarding. I have an incredible team who are passionate about building healthy families. It’s awesome to see the enthusiasm they have when they navigate through difficult situations and end with a resolution they are happy with. I enjoy the relationship building and the opportunity to mentor and coach.

Is there a book or resource that you would recommend for adoptive families?
I don’t have any specific book or resource I would recommend; I think we all have different preferences for how we receive information. I think it’s important for families to connect with adoption agencies and other families in similar circumstances for resources, and to keep up with different mediums of information regarding adoption specific dynamics. There’s so much out there including podcasts, articles, trainings, and real-life experiences (panels of adoptees/adoptive parents). The more families expose themselves to research and information the more they are prepared to navigate the complexities of adoption.

What encouraging words do you have for families that are looking to adopt and/or have finalized an adoption?
Don’t be shy using and relying on resources. No one has all the answers, but the more you are exposed to, the more tools you have when things become challenging. Don’t give up. The best gift you can give a youth is your steadfastness and commitment even when times get tough.

Carly Cantu

How long have you been in the adoption’s supervisor role?
I have been in this role since February of 2021. I had previously been an ARW/Adoption Recruiter for 5 years, spent 8 years in other positions in the department and was fortunate to come back to adoptions in 2021 in a supervisory role.

What is the most rewarding and most challenging part of your job?

I think the most rewarding part of my job is when I get to hear about great outcomes that occur for the families and children we work with. I don’t often meet the children and families in this role; however, in meeting regularly with the ARW’s in my unit, many times I do feel like I know them. There are many challenges that families face with the children having experienced a lot of trauma in their lives. It is always great to hear that with the right services, supports and so many other factors, success still can happen with permanency being achieved. There is nothing I love more than seeing the pictures taken at finalizations and hearing the pride the adoption workers have when an adoption finalizes.

The most challenging part of my job is when disruptions occur. We all want success for both the children and families we work with. It can be heartbreaking when things do not work, as we all care so deeply for the children we work with and want the best possible outcome for them.

Is there a book or resource that you would recommend for adoptive families?
I think books and resources for families can be very subjective. For me, personal narratives always are more impactful, yet I know for others research/data driven books and resources can be what is best. I think that we are lucky to have so many resources available to families which allows them to find the right tools for them.

A book I have read in the past which very much stuck with me was Three Little Words, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. This was a book about a woman’s journey living in the foster care system and ultimately her path to achieving permanency.

What encouraging words do you have for families that are looking to adopt and/or have finalized an adoption?
Hang in there! Being an adoptive parent is not an easy journey but is one that can be incredibly rewarding. Have a support system, be open to resources, supports and services and know that you will face challenges, but the children who have been in the child protection system need and deserve permanency. These children have experienced trauma in their lives but that does not define them. These children are amazing human beings that need families to commit to them through life’s ups and downs.

Help us find a family for Jenecio (JJ)


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 Jenecio (JJ)

Jenecio (JJ) is 6 years old, engaging, and laughs easily. He is helpful and considerate. At times, JJ can be concerned about those around him. JJ enjoys playing games on his tablet and watching videos. He likes pretend play, especially pretend cooking, and has a special set of cooking and baking toys for play. He is active and enjoys activities such as playing at a kids' gym and spending time outdoors.

It is important for JJ to stay connected to his culture and have ongoing access to and participation in tribal practices and celebrations.

Following adoption, JJ will need to maintain contact with a variety of extended family members including a grandmother, aunts and cousins.

"JJ is the sweetest, goofiest little boy you’ll ever meet. He always has a smile on his face and loves to watch funny cartoons, play outside, and explore the world around him." - JJ's Child Specific Recruiter, Hayley

"JJ is a very curious boy who loves to explore his environment and tell jokes. He also loves music and watching funny YouTube videos and cartoons." - JJ's Adoption Worker, Hannah

ICWA applies.

View JJ's Reel Hope      Ask more about JJ

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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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