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Wisconsin foster care explained in less than 10 minutes! There are 2 choices to become a foster parent in Wisconsin. County foster care or a private foster agency. It is important to understand the differences between them. Many people jump in with too few details and discover later into their foster care journey that there were other options. Please don't make that mistake. Learn all you can. Ask questions and be sure to understand the support available to Wisconsin foster parents.
Yes, you have a choice in selecting which foster care agency to work with. You are NOT bound by the county you live in. This may be the most important fact in this blog. No matter what Wisconsin county you reside in, you can choose to work with a private agency vs. your county. Please share this important fact with anyone you know considering foster care.
Community Care Resources is one of the largest private agencies in Wisconsin. We currently have foster homes in 35 counties and each of our homes receives an abundance of support services rarely found with other agencies. Our priority is to help Wisconsin children heal from trauma and we believe that can only be achieved through quality support services.
Listen to Mary Simon explain how we do that:
Like most things in life, one size does not fit all. A primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist. A home hair color treatment gone bad may require an experienced color stylist to correct it. A child might require additional support at school to be successful in his or her learning. Life requires options and choices and that is critically important when placing foster children in the best environment.
Foster children come into care for hundreds of reasons and one type of agency cannot serve the needs of every child effectively and successfully. Community Care Resources receives approximately 40 referrals each month from counties across Wisconsin. Counties refer kids for many different reasons such as:
10-year CCR veteran, Stephanie, describes what she has witnessed:
Over 1,300 kids in Wisconsin are placed in a treatment-level foster home. A legitimate question might be: How many kids would benefit from a treatment home vs. a county home? How many additional foster kids could get the help they need to heal from past traumas or remain with their brothers and sisters? Unfortunately, there are no available statistics to answer these questions. However, it may be safe to assume that the number is significant.
Remember why kids often bounce from foster home to foster home. Foster parents are not fully supported, kids are not receiving necessary services to address their needs, proper trauma-informed care training is not required, all leaving foster parents overwhelmed and on a road to frustration and burnout.
Most Wisconsin county agencies do not have the resources to provide the necessary support to kids and foster parents. It takes a team of highly qualified professionals with time and resources. Although some larger counties do have children in very qualified treatment foster homes, the majority of counties do not offer this higher level of care. Unfortunately, many kids remain in a basic, level 2 county home where needs can go unmet. This is not the fault of foster parents, yet a lack of available support services can mean parents and children are often left to navigate on their own.
Even the best foster parents cannot foster alone. A team approach is required. When a foster parent is neglected, feeling unsupported, or not respected, it is cause for concern. CCR receives calls every week from licensed foster parents from all over the state of Wisconsin interested in transferring agencies. The reason why is always the same. Lack of support!
Promises of support must be kept if a foster parent is to be successful. Working as a team and supporting each other is an agency strength at CCR.
10-year veteran Jamie explains how we do it.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a foster care agency. Please use the list below to ask any agency how foster parents are supported.
CCR foster parents are required to complete 30 hours of classroom training prior to getting a foster license. The majority of this training is trauma-informed care focused and is taught by a team of experienced, long-time CCR staff. Training is designed to give foster parents the tools and skills to care for children with trauma histories.
CCR offers quarterly training sessions in numerous cities around the state of Wisconsin. Continuous training allows foster parents to learn from staff and each other on a variety of subjects related to fostering children with trauma and/or larger sibling groups. Learning from professionals, gaining access to new resources, and staying informed on new practices are important to teamwork and helping children heal.
Every child placed in a CCR foster home has an individualized treatment plan. The plan is designed to address a child's past traumas, current behaviors and emotions due to trauma, and set measurable, achievable goals towards healing. Working on the plan is a team effort. Foster parents, caseworkers, therapists, and county staff are all part of the healing process. When goals are attained, new goals are set to keep the trajectory of healing moving. Remember our goal is to help children heal so that they can succeed later in life.
We promise our foster parents many things here at CCR and we never make a promise we can't keep. The truth can be found in our foster parent retention numbers.
Please call us anytime 800-799-0450
We would be very happy to spend time speaking with you and helping you explore becoming a foster parent.