Since 1998, North Homes has successfully provided adoption services for children from birth to age 17, under State or Tribal guardianship.
As a Public Private Adoption Initiative (PPAI) agency, North Homes focuses on the placement of children 12 and older. Grant funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services allows North Homes to offer, at virtually no cost, adoptive placement and child specific services to Minnesota children and families through the Minnesota Waiting Program. Our licensors and case managers work with families throughout Minnesota - from northern Minnesota to the north Metro area!
Click on the options below to learn more about our services and kids:
Children waiting for adoption from foster care have been removed from the homes of their biological families and have been placed under the care and supervision of the state. As a result of these experiences, children will likely have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. The children may have emotional, behavioral and/or academic needs. Children may be part of a sibling group that needs to be placed together, or have siblings and other loved ones with whom they need to maintain connections.
Children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are served in the MN Waiting program. There is a particular need for families open to parenting children ages 6-18 and sibling groups of all ages who need to remain together. As of August 2020, 1,594 children are under state guardianship. Many are waiting to be adopted. Of the 1,594 children:
- 733 children are in need of adoptive families immediately.
- 861 are in pre-adoptive families, usually with relatives or foster parents who plan to adopt them.
You can learn more by reading "Adoption: Finding Families for Minnesota's Waiting Children" from DHS, or the article "Why Children Come Into Care" from MN Adopt.
Get started on becoming an adoptive home today!
- Contact our staff! Fill out the foster care/adoption inquiry form online or call (218) 751-0282 to be connected to one of our licensors.
- Complete our application. You will receive this via email after talking with one of our staff.
- Introduction meeting with licensor. Your assigned licensor will contact you to schedule a meeting to discuss the home study process with your family and next steps.
- Licensor begins Home Study Report. Your assigned licensor will contact you to schedule a meeting to discuss the home study process. Click HERE to read more about the process from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
- Your family is ready to be licensed! Once the home study assessment is approved, an agency case manager will be assigned to your home and will provide ongoing support to assist with the matching and placement process.
Please note that interested families also need to attend a 2-day Foster Care Adoption Education Class that is facilitated by Children's Home Society of Minnesota/Lutheran Social Service. This required training provides education about caring for children in the Minnesota foster care system for prospective adoptive parents, foster parents, relatives and kin. View upcoming trainings offered HERE.
To learn more about youth currently waiting for adoption from Minnesota foster care, please visit our Youth Spotlight page or you can visit MN Adopt and their Minnesota Waiting Program for the state adoption exchange.
You are encouraged to ask about a child or sibling group at any time! Please note, however, that you will need to complete the foster care adoption process prior to officially matching with a child. Therefore, it is possible that waiting children listed have already been matched with a family. It is our hope that children will find permanency as quickly as possible.
Licensing, home studies, support groups, match and placement education, placement support, 24/7 case management, post finalization services. We do not offer private infant adoption services at this time.
The primary difference is that we work with all 87 counties in Minnesota who are looking to match and place children under guardianship of the state.
If you are licensed through the county where you reside, you can only match for children from that county.
Additionally, we provide 24/7 Case Management, respite dollars, and resource dollars to help with costs associated with licensure. Our agency is accredited through the Council of Accreditation and has additional policies to help ensure the safety of children placed in care, as well as to reduce the risk and liability for the licensed providers.
The State of Minnesota has a strong commitment to ensuring Minnesota children in foster care have the best opportunity to find a permanent family. There are programs available to cover a variety of adoption related costs. The State contracts with private adoption agencies, like North Homes, to subsidize the cost of placement services so that families incur limited adoption related fees.
Additionally, families can receive a one-time reimbursement after an adoption is completed, which covers court or travel fees incurred through the adoption process.
(From MN Adopt FAQ)
The adoption timeline can vary, and may be dependent on some of the following factors:
- When adoption trainings are available;
- Your speed in determining which agency you would like to work with;
- Your speed in completing the application paperwork and meeting foster care requirements;
- How long it takes for your chosen agency to assign an adoption worker;
- Your ability to meet with your adoption worker during business hours;
- Family openness to the needs of waiting children. Those who are open to sibling groups, older children and children with higher needs may experience a shorter wait.
- Background checks; clearance can take longer if you have lived in another state, or if you have a criminal history.
In general, Minnesota’s waiting children are school aged, with approximately 40% of those waiting being between the ages of 12 and 18.
Adoptive families are as unique and diverse as any other family! The most important factor is the ability for parents to meet the needs of the children.
Below are a few examples of some of the types of people/families who adopt:
- Parents of any age, with a minimum age requirement of 21;
- Single persons, married couples, and couples living together;
- Families parenting biological children;
- Families parenting other children who were adopted;
- Families who have minimal or no parenting experience;
- Families and individuals of any identified gender or sexual orientation;
- Military families;
- Interracial families;
- Religious and non-religious families;
- Families with physical, medical or mental health challenges, provided they are being well managed;
- Families with varying financial resources.
Yes! You do not need to own a home to adopt a child. Your dwelling will have to meet specific licensing requirements. Some examples include having space for a child (e.g. a room with a bed and dresser) and having a dining area large enough for the whole family. Click HERE for more information on licensing requirements.
Ensuring the safety of a child is the top priority when placing a child into an adoptive home. Based on this, there are specific barriers to adoption that include a potential adopter’s criminal record.
Some families who have a police record are able to successfully adopt if their crime did not result in a barrier conviction. However, any criminal record is reviewed by the licensing entity on an individual basis, with an important factor being when the incident occurred and the current situation of the family.
It is important to be honest with your agency and worker about any criminal history that does exist, as failure to do so will likely lead to you being disapproved for adoption.
Click HERE to learn more about criminal barriers to foster care and adoption.
A home study is the process that evaluates your family as an adoptive resource for a child. The final product of this process is a written report, as required by Minnesota law for all prospective adoptive families.
The following are important components of the home study process:
- Educate and prepare the prospective adoptive family about the adoption process;
- Ability for the adoption worker to better understand the family in order to best advocate for them throughout their process;
- Assess the suitability of the prospective adoptive family in being able to meet the needs of identified child(ren);
- To compile information about the prospective adoptive family that will aide adoption workers in matching the family with a child(ren) whose needs they can best meet;
Although not specific only to the Minnesota Home Study process, you can click HERE for additional information.
The home study process can vary greatly, depending on several factors, including how efficient you are in completing the required paperwork, training schedule, timeline to be assigned a worker, and your flexibility to meet with your worker during regular business hours.
You should expect the home study process to take a minimum of six months from the time you submit an application with an agency.
Families who adopt a child who is under the Guardianship of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services must be licensed for foster care from the time the child enters their care until the adoption is finalized in court. This ensures that any family caring for a child under state guardianship before an adoption is finalized meet specific requirements.
Your adoption worker will explain the requirements for licensing your home for foster care. You might be asked to make small changes to your home, such as obtaining a fire inspection, a well water test, buying a fire ladder, or providing your worker with updated pet shot records.
Review Minnesota’s Foster Care requirements HERE.
Northstar Care for Children is Minnesota’s adoption assistance program. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance that allows families to meet the varying needs of the children they adopt.
The amount of the assistance varies and is dependent on many factors, including the age of the child and their medical or mental health needs.
Medical Assistance is a federally funded insurance program that is available to children who are adopted from foster care. Families who adopt Minnesota children from foster care will be able to utilize Medical Assistance in conjunction with their primary insurance (if applicable), allowing them to meet their child’s medical, dental and mental health needs.
Generally, the answer is no. Children in foster care have experienced a great deal of loss, which often makes meeting prospective families a stressful and difficult experience. Because of this, families are asked to make a commitment to a child(ren) prior to meeting them.
In order to make this commitment, families are provided extensive information through written histories and meetings with adults in the child(ren)’s life, which may include foster parents, teachers, and therapists. In some cases, it is possible to view videos of the children to give a better sense of their personalities.
The State of Minnesota is committed to supporting adoptive families after finalization. By providing a variety of post-adoption supportive services, families are equipped with the supports needed to promote success for the years ahead.
Examples of Minnesota’s post-adoption services include:
- North Homes Children & Family Services is here for you after finalization. We provided post adoption services to alleviate crisis, stabilize a child and family, and equip families with tools to prevent further crisis.
- MN ADOPT’s supportive services, including: resource packed website, Education Program, HELP Program:
- North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) and Adoption Support Network (ASN)
(From MN Adopt website)
Regardless of the reason for adoption, many children have important people in their lives they may want to maintain contact with. When appropriate, supporting these relationships can benefit both your child and your family by providing a sense of history, identity and the ability to create new interactions.
Examples of ongoing relationships may include:
- Birth parents
- Extended birth family members
- Foster care providers
- Additional people considered important to the child
Siblings are the most commonly identified connection to be maintained. Families should also expect that even if contact with birth family is not formally maintained, teens will often explore connections on their own through social media and other informal networks.
The timeline between home study completion and match or placement provides a great opportunity for families to further educate themselves about the needs of the child that may be joining their family.
Below are some examples of activities that can be helpful to families during this period:
- Reading nonfiction and fiction books related to adoption and parenting;
- Attend online and live workshops: https://www.mnadopt.org/education/;
- Participate in support groups: https://www.mnadopt.org/support-groups/;
- Seek out opportunities to get to know other families who have adopted from foster care;
Talk to your adoption worker about other ways in which you can prepare, such as exploring becoming a respite provider, which would allow you to engage with other families and get first-hand experience caring for a child(ren) with varying needs.
Meet our Adoptive Families
North Homes Staff, Holly Guyer, receives Distinguished Service Award from MN DHS and MN Adopt!
Holly has been a valued North Homes employee for over 18 years. She has worked in our adoption program during this time, supporting the launch of programs, traditions, and providing continued support to our adoptive youth and families. Holly was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from MN Department of Human Services and MN Adopt for her incredible work and support of foster care and adoptive services. Thank you for all you do, Holly!
North Homes Children and Family Services offer case management services to families who have adopted a child. Post-adoption services are designed to alleviate crisis, stabilize a child and family, and equip families with tools to prevent further crisis. We will provide post-adoption services to families that have adopted children under the guardianship of the commissioner or children who were wards of tribal court in the State of MN. If you are in need of this service or would like more information, please contact our office, and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Bemidji (218) 751-0282
Grand Rapids (218) 327-3000
Duluth (218) 733-3000