Many people who want to become a foster parent in Wisconsin contact their county foster agency unaware there are private foster agencies like Community Care Resources worth exploring. Let's dive deep into the options and reasons why a private agency might be the best choice for your family. It begins with what types of children and characteristics you wish to accept into your family and how much support you will require in caring for foster children. It has nothing to do with what county you live in!
For many people, the foster care journey will be positive and rewarding. The strong and flexible will foster for years accepting a dozen or more kids into their family, some may even adopt their foster children. Unfortunately, others will feel frustrated, discouraged and unsupported. Many of these foster parents will give written notice to have foster children removed from their home because they are not properly trained nor supported to care for the variety of emotions, behaviors, and trauma foster children come with. The foster care system can be unpredictable and complicated, but you do have a choice in selecting which agency to walk with on your foster parenting journey. County agencies and private foster agencies can offer different experiences. Let's explore.
Wisconsin foster parents can license with a private agency and live in any county they choose.
The process to become a foster parent is very much defined by the state of Wisconsin and varies only slightly between counties and private agencies. Applications, background checks, homes visits, references and tons of paperwork are unavoidable. Getting your foster care license will typically take a minimum of 4 months no matter the agency. The process is lengthy and necessary. It is what happens after the issuance of the license that makes all the difference in your foster parenting journey. Most importantly, what can you expect your agency to do for you.
Prior to contacting an agency, there are several things you must consider.
- Do you want to welcome kids with significant trauma into your family?
- What characteristics are you willing to accept? ADHD, neglect, sexual abuse, delinquency, physical aggression, self-injury, food issues, sleep issues...
- What ages interest you? Babies, Toddlers, Adolescents, Teens
- Will you accept sibling groups?
- What does your personal support system look like?
- Do you have a flexible work schedule?
Your answers to questions like these are what will typically drive you to a private agency like Community Care Resources or direct you to your county. CCR is a treatment level agency, serving kids with significant trauma and successfully placing sibling groups together in one home. We rarely place infants or kids ages 0-3 unless they are part of a sibling group. If you are interested in short-term or emergency placements, then your county agency might be a good fit for you. Interested in helping sibling groups or kids with significant trauma and want the guarantee of consistent support?
Listen as a foster mom in Rock County shares why she chose Community Care Resources.
There are 72 counties in Wisconsin and all have a department of Human Services, can issue a foster license and place children in out of home care. On average, 45 children are referred to CCR every month because the originating county does not have an available home. If you live in Eau Claire County, it does not mean that you must license there. Do you live in Outagamie, Rock or Racine County? Same myth debunked. You are not required to license with the county you live in and you should not be fearful of licensing with an agency that has a home office 2-3 hours from your home. It just doesn't matter! What does matter is the commitment your agency gives to all foster parents that they will provide consistent, dependable in-home support. CCR foster families are located throughout dozens of Wisconsin counties and each home receives a plethora of local and in-home support services.
Kids are referred to CCR by their county of origin when a county home is unavailable or additional services and support are required.
Many county and private agencies have the resources to support their foster parents and foster children, while others seem to struggle to provide basic support. What we know to be true, is that foster parents must receive consistent, dependable support services to successfully care for foster children with significant trauma. If foster parents don't receive the necessary support they will most likely struggle with children in their care which often leads to foster parents giving written notice to have the kids removed from their care. Unfortunately, this means foster children bounce from house to house. Additionally, lack of support is why licensed foster parents transfer to a different agency. This is why exploration and consideration of your options are so important.
A foster parent in Rock County explains why support is so important!
Foster Parents need an abundance of support. It should be expected and provided.
- How often will your assigned case manager visit your home?
- What services will be available to your foster kids?
- How often will your caseworker visit the foster kid's school?
- How quickly does the agency promise to respond to your texts and late-night calls?
- What level of education and experience do caseworkers have?
- What about employee retention? What is the average length of caseworker employment?
You don't know the importance of support yet because you are not a foster parent. This is where you must trust us.
It will be obvious to you within a few short weeks after children are placed in your home just how much support you need. Ask these questions and perform your due diligence! You will not regret asking but you may very well pay the price for embarking on an unsupported journey of fostering. Here are the answers we will give you:
- Every week, we are at your home. At your kitchen table for an hour.
- All services required will be performed in-home or in your community. We will help you locate off-site services. We also have a child psychologist and therapists on staff.
- Every other week in the child's school. A critical component of teamwork
- Near immediate responses. We also have a 24/7 on-call, after hours hotline that is managed by our own case managers. You will not wait hours or days!
- All CCR Clinical Case Managers are required to have a Master's degree in social work. This exceeds state requirements.
- The average employee has been with CCR for 14 years. Caseworkers average is 11 years. Statistics are here
Community Care Resources has been serving children and families for 30 years. Our foster parents are committed to the agency and the foster children. One benefit worth mentioning is that if you are licensed with CCR and relocate to another county, your license remains intact. We are extremely proud that our employees rarely resign and that we operate as a large family supporting one another. Our goal is to place children in a home that will offer that child an opportunity to feel safe and heal. We are proud to say that more often than not, we achieve that goal!
Interested in learning more? Read our FAQ's
Ready to talk? Call Jane 608-203-1318