Child Foster Care

Across Rice County, our licensed foster parents open up their homes and hearts to youth who have been separated from their biological families due to abuse, abandonment or neglect.  Foster parents play a huge role in providing love and support and a lasting presence in the lives of these children who have endured a great deal of hardship.
Rice County is proud to recognize and thank our incredible foster parents for making a difference in the lives of children!
Are you interested in learning more about becoming a licensed foster care provider?  Rice County has the need for additional homes.  Foster Care can be short term to long term care.  Foster parents also provide occasional respite for children (pre-arranged scheduled breaks for children/families); you can obtain licensure specifically for this type of care.  Additionally, there is a great need to find additional homes for short and long term care for children 13-18 years of age.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact Cheryl Marek, Child Foster Care Licensor, at Rice County Social Services at 507-332-6115. 


Department Overview

Family foster care homes in Rice County provide a wide range of child care services for at-risk children from birth through the age of eighteen years. Services may include traditional foster care, emergency shelter care, and respite (relief) care for children with special needs. Foster parents are people who are concerned about the well-being of children. Foster parents may provide temporary substitute care for children who continue to live with their family. They provide substitute care for longer periods in the event that the children cannot remain in their homes. In some situations, foster parents may become guardians or adoptive parents to the children in their care. Foster parents enjoy a sense of satisfaction in helping families in need. Their services for children strengthen community networks.


Why do children need foster care?

Most children come into foster care because of family problems. All children in foster care need special help from their foster parents in the areas of emotional, behavioral, and special needs. Families of children with special needs may also require periods of respite (relief) care. Children and their families may exhibit characteristics of the following:

  • Chemical (alcohol/drug) Dependency
  • Mental/Emotional/Physical Disabilities
  • Abuse or Neglect
  • Parent/Child Conflicts

Child Foster Care Rules & Regulations

Child Foster Care Orientation Sessions

For more detailed information relative to Child Foster Care Orientation Sessions and how to register, please click on the following link:

Family Resource Training

Contact Information:
Cheryl Marek
Licensed Social Worker/Licensing Unit
(507) 332-5964

Foster Parent Information

Who Can Be A Foster Parent?

People who can give children a stable, secure family home experience. Foster parents must be 21 years of age. They can be single or married. They can own a home or rent an apartment. (However, apartment dwellers are required to have a permission form completed by their landlord). Foster parents must have an income adequate to meet their own needs. They must be in good physical and mental health. They are people who enjoy children of different races, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. Foster parents are members of a team who work towards the best interest of the children in their care.


Licensing Criteria

To become a foster parent, you must comply with an approval process involving interviews and visits by staff of Rice County Social Services. A medical report is required for foster parents and household members. Each foster parent and family member over the age of 13, must also submit to a criminal and social services background check. Licensing also includes a home study, home safety check, references, orientation, ongoing training, and may also include a fire marshal inspection of the home. Foster homes are evaluated and relicensed, usually on a bi-annual basis, after the initial year of licensure.


What Are the Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent?

  1. Contact the licensor at one of the numbers listed below to discuss licensure, and for further information.
  2. If you would like to apply, contact the licensor to schedule a home interview, and begin the process of licensure.
  3. Home study information will include family relationships, family activities, discipline techniques, communication skills, and expectations of foster care. It is also important to determine the areas of care, and types of children that work best for the prospective foster family. Six hours of orientation, and twelve hours of training related to foster care, is required for the initial year of licensure.
  4. When the application process is completed, the agency shall forward its licensing recommendation to the Department of Human Services within 20 days.
  5. The licensing process may take up to 3 months, to allow time for background checks, medical information, home study, and scheduled training.

Mandated Child Foster Care Trainings

Child Passenger Safety Training Update

SUID (Sudden Unexplained Infant Death) and AHT (Abusive Head Trauma) Online Courses

Children's Mental Health

Contact Information:
Cheryl Marek
Licensed Social Worker/Licensing Unit
(507) 332-5964