Children’s Residential Facilities

Using the licensing lookup

Children’s residential care

Children’s residential care, out-of-state

Statutes and rules

License application forms

Licensing requirements- Variance request form DHS-3141 (PDF)

Frequently asked questions

Screening forms

Critical Incident Reporting for Children/CRF (PDF)

Vulnerable Adults Maltreatment Reporting Policy form (PDF)

Maltreatment of Minors Reporting Policy form (PDF)

Other Licensing Requirements

The Minnesota Department of Health licenses and regulates certain facilities as it relates to sanitation and safety of the buildings and to the health, treatment, comfort, safety, and well-being of the persons being served. Depending on the type of service that you intend to provide in your facility, you may need a license from each state agency. Additional information for MDH licensing information may be found on their website for:

Food, Beverage and Lodging (FBL) License

Children’s Residential Care (Children’s Residential Facilities)

Children’s residential facilities standards (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 2960) govern the licensing of providers of residential care and treatment or detention or foster care services for children in out-of-home placement. These standards contain the licensing requirements for residential facilities and foster care and program certification requirements for program services offered in the licensed facilities. Statutory language defines “certification” as meaning the commissioner's written authorization for a license holder licensed by the Commissioner of Human Services or the Commissioner of Corrections to serve children in a residential program and provide specialized services based on certification standards in Minnesota Rules. The term "certification" and its derivatives have the same meaning and may be substituted for the term "licensure" and its derivatives.

The rule governs program areas that may be licensed and or certified by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC).

The rule contains general requirements applicable to all licensing/certification areas with the exception of foster care services.

Rule requirements govern the following program areas:

Chemical Dependency Treatment Services

"Chemical dependency treatment services" means therapeutic and treatment services provided to a resident to alter the resident's pattern of harmful chemical use. (DHS jurisdiction)

Correctional Program Services

"Correctional program services" means any program or activity that uses treatment services, consequences, and discipline to control or modify behavior. Correctional program services are provided to residents who are at least ten years old, but younger than 21 years old, and extended jurisdictional juveniles. (DOC jurisdiction)

Detention Setting

"Detention setting" means a residential program offering temporary care to the alleged delinquent with new charges or adjudicated delinquent residents with new charges who are at least ten years old, but younger than 21 years old, on a predispositional status.(DOC jurisdiction)

Foster Care

"Foster care" means the 24-hour-a-day care of a child following placement by the commissioner or a licensed child-placing agency with legal placement responsibility pursuant to a court order or voluntary placement agreement, in any facility that regularly provides one or more children, when unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, with a substitute for the care, food, lodging, training, education, supervision, or treatment they need which for any reason cannot be furnished by a parent or guardian in the child's home. Foster family settings, foster homes and foster residence settings are distinct designations under foster care. (Note: DOC licenses some foster care services, though they do not accept new applications; DHS licenses the balance of these settings via delegations to counties who do accept new applications for licensure and conduct routine licensing inspections.)

Group Residential Setting

"Group residential setting" means a licensed residential program that offers care to residents and extended jurisdiction juveniles in which the license holder does not live at the licensed facility. (DHS and DOC jurisdiction)

Mental Health Treatment Services

"Mental health treatment services" means all of the therapeutic services and activities provided to a resident with emotional disturbance or severe emotional disturbance to care and treat the resident's mental illness, including locked facilities. (DHS jurisdiction)

Restrictive Procedures Certification

Programs using restrictive procedures - procedures used to limit the movement of a resident, including disciplinary room time, mechanical restraint, physical escort, physical holding, and seclusion, must be certified and comply with standards relevant to DOC and DHS program licensure. (Separate standards for DHS and DOC programs)

Secure Program

"Secure program" means a residential program offered in a building or part of a building secured by locks or other physical plant characteristics intended to prevent the resident from leaving the program without authorization. (DOC jurisdiction)

Shelter Care Services

"Shelter care services" means a residential program offering short-term, time-limited placements of 90 days or less to residents who are in a behavioral or situational crisis and need out-of-home placement. (DHS jurisdiction)

Transitional Services Programs

Transitional services programs must develop a “transitional services plan" plan for residents which must identify the education, rehabilitation, habilitation, vocational training, and treatment the resident will need after discharge and recommend which agency could provide these services. (DHS jurisdiction)

Children’s Residential Care

The purpose of residential care is to provide temporary care or treatment for children in need of out-of-home care or treatment which is determined to meet the child's individual needs and is consistent with the timelines in Minnesota Statutes, section 260C.201, subdivisions 11 and 11a. The license holder must cooperate with and give support to the efforts of the placing agency regarding permanency planning for children in out-of-home placement.

Children’s Residential Care, Out-of-State

Children may receive mental health treatment in residential settings in other states. State law provides, for a portion of the costs for residential services furnished to children with severe emotional disturbance in facilities located in states that border Minnesota, to be covered in certain circumstances. The placement must be made by the county, the facility must be located nearest to the child’s home and appropriate to the child’s level of care, and the facility must be located in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, or South Dakota. The facility must be inspected by the Licensing Division of the Department of Human Services and be certified to substantially meet the standards applicable to children’s residential mental health treatment programs (under Minnesota Rules, chapter 2960) by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 260B.198, subd. 11 (a). Programs interested in certification should contact the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The following link provides a list of children’s residential facilities (PDF) that have been inspected by the Department of Human Services and certified by the Department of Corrections.

Licensing Process:

To begin the initial licensing process, the applicant must:

  • • Submit completed Licensing Application forms provided by DHS.
  • • Document compliance with applicable building codes, fire and safety codes, health rules, zoning ordinances, or document an appropriate waiver has been granted.
  • • Provide evidence of compliance with worker’s compensation insurance coverage requirements.
  • • Provide social security and Minnesota business identification numbers.
  • • Submit a nonrefundable initial license application fee. The fee is $500.
  • • All individuals having direct contact with clients must have a background study conducted by DHS. Before an initial license is issued, the person(s) who signed the application and the individual(s) with the highest level of decision-making authority over the program must have a background study clearance notification from DHS.
  • Self-Monitoring Checklist

    Please contact to request a checklist.

    Statutes and Rules

    The following Minnesota Statutes and Rule apply to these services:


  • Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A (Human Services Licensing Act)
  • Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245C (Human Services Background Studies Act)
  • Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556 (Maltreatment of Minors Reporting Act)
  • Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.557 and 626.5572 (Vulnerable Adults Act)
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