How It Works

TFC at CHS serves:

Children and youth

  • Ages 0-18
  • In state or tribal custody
  • Higher medical, developmental and/or emotional needs


  • Within 60-mile radius of Rapid City or Sioux Falls
  • Any age, race, religion, background, gender and family composition

Licensing Process

Parenting a child who has experienced trauma within a family can seem overwhelming at times. Being a therapeutic foster parent to a child with such needs is not easy, but you won’t be alone. We are with you at every turn to provide assistance, guidance, tips, training and support.

The licensing process consists of four main stages.


Complete the information form found here.

A member of our team will reach out to you using the preferred method of contact listed on your inquiry. The team will answer questions you may have and provide additional information as appropriate. During this stage, you will review the non-negotiables (link to this), discuss the foster care/adoption journey in a broad sense, and gain a deeper understanding of how CHS can best support you so you can best support the children placed in your home.

If you have concerns about something specific that might disqualify you from fostering or adopting, talk with your CHS team member about it. We may be able to work with your family, depending on the specifics of the incident and its resolution.


Completing the license application with CHS is the official start of the licensure process with us. As part of the application process, you should be prepared to provide or consent to:

  • Criminal record checks with local, state, and federal levels.
  • References
  • Proof of meeting minimum age requirement


To be licensed as a TFC provider with CHS, applicant(s) must complete a total of 40 hours of training. CHS provides this at no cost to families. A 30-hour basic training course covers:

  • Child development, including impacts of separation from birth family
  • Attachment
  • Grief and loss issues
  • Importance of birth family connections
  • Behavior management strategies
  • Permanency options

TFC parents provide care to children and youth with unique needs, so an additional 10 hours of training is required to obtain licensure. The additional trainings cover topics to best prepare the family to meet the behavioral, emotional, and social needs of the children whom they welcome into their home.

Because many of the TFC families served by CHS are in the helping professions, training completed as part of their employment can be considered as part of the training requirements for licensure.

Once licensed, families complete ongoing education/training throughout their service. Each family is required to complete 30 hours of training annually to maintain their licensure. CHS provides abundant training opportunities throughout the year.

Home Study

A home study is conducted to help determine if foster care and/or adoption parenting is right for you. Throughout this process, the CHS team will help you identify the type of child(ren) who can benefit the most from your family.

This process consists of interviews with everyone in the household, home visits, documentation of key information, social history and reference checks with people who know you well and can speak to your ability to provide care. Reference checks are also completed with your adult children and any ex-spouses.

The home study report will include the age range and number of children recommended for your family. If you are interested in being licensed as an adoptive parent, the report will also include your understanding of adoption throughout the lifespan and the whole family’s readiness to integrate another child into your family.

You will have the opportunity to review your home study; however, it will remain the property of CHS.


CHS is licensed by the South Dakota Department of Social Services as a child placement agency and is accredited by the Joint Commission. As such, all applicants for foster care/adoption home studies must meet the following non-negotiable standards to be eligible for licensure.

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Be financially able to care for your family, independent of foster care reimbursement.
  • Placement of any child cannot be guaranteed. Final placement decisions are determined by the agency, the placing agency and/or the court.
  • Home studies are the property of CHS and are not owned by the applicant(s).
  • Physical discipline is prohibited.
  • Approval at the conclusion of licensing process is not guaranteed. Final approval rests with CHS.
  • Initial licensure requires completion of a minimum of 40 hours of training. CHS reserves the right to require training on various topics specific to each family, as appropriate.
  • Renewal licensure requires completion of a minimum of 30 hours of training annually. CHS reserves the right to require training on various topics specific to each family, as appropriate.
  • Applicants must pass all required background checks. Criminal record checks that detect convictions for crimes involving harm to children, sex crimes, crimes of violence as defined by statute, felony convictions for spousal abuse or drug related crimes, or any felony convictions within the past five years are non-negotiable.
  • Other criminal history may exclude one from being approved or licensed.
  • CHS has the right at any time to request/require additional information such as psychological evaluations, reports from therapists, miscellaneous testing, etc.
  • All licensing standards are non-negotiable.