Foster Care

Answers to Common Questions for Prospective Foster Parents

What are the qualifications for becoming a foster parent?

  • Foster parents must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Foster parents may be single, married, widowed, or be in a significant long term partnership.
  • Foster parents must be in good health and undergo a health screening.
  • Foster parents complete home studies that are administered by the licensing agency.
  • Foster parents are expected to work with birth families.
  • Foster parents participate in orientations and trainings as mandated by the agencies that license them.
  • Foster parents provide proof of homeowner's or renter's insurance as well as automobile liability insurance.
  • Foster Parents undergo criminal background checks. They are also required to provide fingerprint based criminal background checks in accordance to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
  • Foster parents keep information about the children in care and their families of those children confidential.
  • The homes of foster parents must be in compliance with safety checklists and DCF 56 (Wisconsin Administrative Code for Child Foster Homes).

Why are children placed in foster care?

  • In many instances, children are placed in foster care due to the unavailability of parents of relatives to provide care. They may be abused or neglected children. Parents may also request placement due to an inability to care for their children.

How are foster parents compensated for the care of the child?

  • The State of Wisconsin has a Uniform Fee Schedule for reimbursement to foster parents.
  • Rates of compensation are based upon the needs of children.
  • Payments to foster parents are considered reimbursements for expenses to meet the needs of the children are not considered income in most instances.

What is a home study?

  • The home study is a process in which prospective foster parents complete an application, questionnaires and participate in a series of personal interviews.
  • Prospective foster parents are assigned to a licensing worker from their licensing agency.
  • As part of the home study, the licensing workers complete thorough criminal background checks and reference checks.
  • The licensing workers inspect residences to insure that they satisfy the State's requirement to meet the needs of children in foster care.
  • The licensing workers gather information about the applicants' parenting skills and abilities.
  • The workers discuss the reasons applicants are interested in fostering and assesse how fostering may potentially impact them and their family members.
  • The home study insures that homes are in compliance with the agency's licensing requirement.
  •  The process of the home study provides an opportunity for prospective foster parents to ask questions and discuss concerns.

Can I choose the gender and age of children that I would like to foster?

  • During the licensing process workers ask about the age, gender and special needs of children which prospective foster parents are interested in fostering.
  • Prior to one or more children being placed in a home, a worker from the agency calls to describe the child or children needing a foster home.
  • Foster parents always have the option of declining a foster care placement.

What are the ages of children who are in need of care?

  • Children in need of foster care placements in Wisconsin are between the ages of 0-18.

How long are children in foster care?

  • Children may be in foster care for one day or longer. The goal of foster care is to provide safe and nurturing homes for children while support and assistance is given to parents to make their homes safe places to which the children can return.
  • The goal of the child welfare system is to provide safe and permanent homes for all children. While most children find that with their birth families, others are placed in adoptive, kinship, or guardianship homes.
  • Most children who are placed in foster care are successfully reunited with their families.

What type of health care coverage is provided to children in care?

  • All foster children are eligible for the Title XIX Medical Program. Title XIX covers medical, mental health, prescription, and drug care expenses as well as dental care.

For more information: please call the Foster Care Coordinator at 715-537-5691.