Discover in 5 minutes what you really need to know about Wisconsin foster care. Finding clear foster care answers isn't always easy, but we are about to change that. To become a foster parent in Wisconsin you must understand the differences between a private foster agency and a county agency and what those differences mean to the kids in care and to the foster parents that care for them. From there, knowing what to expect up front and after kids are placed with you is important to make the best decision for you and your family. Here is what you need to know. Let's get started.
The choice is yours with Wisconsin foster care. It does NOT matter what county you live in.
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 fact may be the most important in this entire quick read. 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. Our Wisconsin county locations
Community Care Resources is one of the largest private agencies in Wisconsin. We currently have foster homes in 35 counties across the state 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:
Foster care support services are crucial to helping Wisconsin kids!
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 possibly serve the needs of every child effectively and successfully. Community Care Resources receives roughly 40-45 child referrals each month from counties across Wisconsin. Counties refer kids for many different reasons such as:
- A child requires a foster home trained in trauma-informed care.
- Keeping a sibling group of 2, 3, 4 or more together rather than separate them.
- Therapy and support services are required to begin healing effectively from past traumas.
- Higher educated case managers are required to provide clinical services and manage progress.
- A foster home with an at-home parent to provide higher supervision.
- An experienced parent to provide medical or emotional care.
10-year veteran, Stephanie, describes what she has witnessed:
20% of kids in Wisconsin foster care are in treatment level foster homes.
Over 1,300 kids in Wisconsin are placed in a treatment level foster home. A legitimate question might be: How many kids should be in a treatment home vs. a county home? How many more kids could truly 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, but it may be safe to assume that the number of kids that would benefit from treatment care could be significantly higher.
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 which can mean parents and children are often left to navigate on their own.
Support services are the key to success for foster kids and foster parents.
There are too many pieces in the complicated puzzle of foster care for any foster parent to navigate it alone. It truly takes a team to care for foster children successfully. When a foster parent is neglected, feels unsupported, or isn't respected, it is cause for concern. We receive phone 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 an agency. Please use the list below to ask an agency how foster parents are supported.
- How often will a caseworker visit my home? CCR provides WEEKLY in-home visits (counties generally provide monthly visits)
- Can I speak with someone after hours? CCR has 24/7 SUPPORT & CRISIS MANAGEMENT
- What is the caseworker turnover rate? CCR case manager's average length of employment is 15 years!
- What are the education requirements of your caseworkers? CCR only employs MASTERS level Case Managers
- What topics are covered in initial training? CCR trains extensively in TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE.
- What forms of communication are used? CCR utilizes phone, email, and text to respond within minutes.
- Explain how kids are placed in my home. CCR requires a pre-placement, meaning you meet the child prior to accepting a placement.
- Are supervisors available to foster parents? CCR supervisors are always available to the team.
Proper training prior to receiving a license guarantees more successful outcomes.
There can never be enough training to help children with trauma and meet them where they are. At CCR our foster parents are required to complete 30 hours of classroom training PRIOR to getting a foster license. The majority of this training is trauma focused and is taught by a team of experienced, long time CCR staff. Training is designed to give foster parents the necessary tools and skills to parent children with a variety of trauma because most often basic parenting skills are not enough.
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.
Goals are set for every child in care in an effort to heal from past traumas.
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.
If you are considering foster care, you now understand the many differences between a private agency and your county and how those differences affect foster parents and foster kids. You have a choice, you are not limited to the boundaries of your home county. Kids in need of services and healing deserve to be placed in a home where those promises are kept so they might have a successful future ahead of them.
Goals, Support, Training, and Healing
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.
- Of the families that leave CCR each year, LESS THAN 1% TRANSFER TO ANOTHER AGENCY!
- The majority retire or have grown their family through adoption.
- The average CCR foster family stays with us for 6.3 years.
- The average length of current, active foster families, 9.1 years!
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.