If you want to become a foster parent in Wisconsin, you must do your research and ask the right questions when choosing a foster agency to work with. Learning everything you can before committing to an agency will prove beneficial in the end when you are caring for foster children in your home. Most people know the basic questions to ask but there is one question that stands out above them all and it is rarely asked by prospective foster parents we speak to.
We answer calls, emails, instant messages, and texts throughout the day. We provide answers to dozens of questions and walk people through the details of how to qualify and the steps to become a foster parent. We address everyone individually and personally, we do not offer generic, group information sessions or send out packets of information to be explored at home. We want you to have all the foster care answers you need to make the best decision for yourself and your family. Transparency and honesty are promised to everyone inquiring.
With big hearts and open minds, people from all over Wisconsin inquire about how foster care works and how they might go about getting started. We hear from people in approximately 24 counties each month. That is fantastic because we need foster homes in ever corner of the state to accommodate the constant flow of kids being referred to us.
We know what you need to know to make a decision. We understand that in most cases, people don't even know what questions to ask. That is why we have a retired foster mom answering your calls. Speaking with someone that has actually fostered and understands the ins and outs of foster care is such a benefit to people that contact CCR. We know what you need to know, we understand that you don't know what to ask, and we know what you may be afraid to ask.
Everyone should feel comfortable asking for details and explanations about fostering. It is kind of like school, there are no dumb questions, there are no wrong questions either. Here are a few questions that folks are often nervous to ask us:
1. Can I have an age preference?
2. Can I pick the kids I want to foster?
3. How much are foster parents paid?
4. Will my background check prohibit me from fostering?
These are great questions to ask. So let us give answers right now!
These are all good questions and should be discussed, sometimes in detail depending on your personal situation. We understand that not all foster agencies provide details over the phone. Nor do all agencies have a former foster parent taking phone calls. At CCR we know you have a choice between your county agency and a private agency.
We want you to understand the differences between us and what makes one a better fit for you than the other. Our staff is happy to talk to you as long as need be (usually 35-60 minutes) to get you the information you need to make your decision.
That is the question you must ask! The answer you get should be the determining factor in choosing a foster agency. Think of it as a delicious pie of information. Each slice has valuable information that will be helpful to you as you explore fostering and choose an agency.
However, some slices of the pie are smaller with good information and some slices are much larger offering the most important information. Don't forget about the biggest slice in the pie. SUPPORT. What will an agency do for you when children are in your home? Who will be there for you? Why should you believe the answers given to you?
Ask about employee retention. Social services is plagued with high employee turnover and burn out. Specifically ask what the average length of employment is for case managers?
All of these questions are part of that giant slice of important pie! Please ask these questions, they are crucial to your success as a foster parent and your ability to help kids feel safe, loved, and heal from trauma.
It takes a team to care for kids in foster care. Successful foster parents are part of a team working together for the best interests of children. Do not jump on the foster train alone. You deserve all the support possible. You will need support and you will depend on it when things get tough. Having a foster parent support system in addition to staff will also be important.
As for CCR, our team is dedicated to serving families and children. For 31 years helping children heal from trauma has been our number one goal. We do that with a team effort and we truly believe that the support we provide our foster parents is better than any agency in Wisconsin.
Call us anytime. Ask us about support services and what we will do for you when kids are placed in your home!