The Northstar Care for Children Act is a state law which took effect Jan. 1, 2015. It made significant changes in programs creating a uniform set of benefits and processes for children age 6 and older in foster care, former foster children whose legal custody has been transferred to a relative, and former foster children who have been adopted. Although not uniform, children age 5 and younger also fall within the unified benefits and processes. Northstar Care for Children assists the families caring for children and support permanency for foster children. The previous programs continue for current children and will be phased out over time.
The department provided information and training in preparation for the 2015 implementation. Here is an overview (from a presentation to Leech Lake and White Earth) and an update (from a presentation to the county director conference):
“Paths to Permanency” is an overview of legal issues and financial supports for foster children whose permanency plan includes adoption or a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody. The primary audience is relatives, foster families, and youth who are working with an agency social worker, but many others may find it helpful.
The department has released practice guides and checklists for Northstar Care. The primary audience is staff at county and tribal agencies, but others may find it helpful.
The department has issued these related bulletins:
The Permanency Support Unit issues Northstar Tips & Tricks to provide technical assistance and guidance on policy and practice issues related to adoption, transfer of permanent legal and physical custody, Northstar Adoption Assistance, and Northstar Kinship Assistance.
The MAPCY (Minnesota Assessment of Parenting for Children and Youth) is the tool used to determine Northstar Care for Children benefits. Minnesota county and tribal social service agencies use the MAPCY when working with foster, kinship and adoptive families.
Frequently asked questions and answers