Why does it take so long to get a foster care license?
The time it takes to become a foster parent in Wisconsin can vary based on the foster agency you license with. Typically, getting a Wisconsin foster care license can take anywhere from three to nine months. Getting a license depends on how quickly you complete the steps required and most importantly, how well staffed and organized the foster agency you have chosen is. Community Care Resources promises to walk you through the licensing process in a timely manner. It will require patience because the process is lengthy but it will be worth the wait. Most foster parents are licensed in 3-5 months and get their first placement shortly thereafter.
But I meet the requirements to become a foster parent.
Even though you meet the requirements and there are hundreds of foster kids waiting for a loving home like yours, it still takes 3-5 months. Why does it take so long? Short answer: it just does. There is a significant amount of paperwork and many home visits required prior to attending training. Most steps are mandated by the state of Wisconsin, some are required by the agency you choose to license with. At Community Care Resources, we have a well organized, thorough licensing process that will prepare you to care for kids with significant trauma. Our team is quick to respond and eager to help you understand being a licensed treatment foster parent.
If my background check is clean, why can’t we speed up the process?
A background check and fingerprinting are just two pieces of the licensing process and two of the pieces that take time. You might not even have a traffic ticket on record but that doesn’t mean you will be a qualified candidate to be a foster parent. Here are the basic Community Care Resources qualifications needed to begin the pre-qualification process:
- Resident of Wisconsin
- 25 years or older (CCR will consider 21+ if a spouse is 25 or over)
- Sufficient income for the needs of your current family
- Stable, healthy relationships with spouse, family, friends. People you can count on.
- A flexible work/personal schedule
- Bed and adequate space and storage for personal belongings
- Background check including the release of convictions, restraining orders, domestic violence and any records held by the Department of Human Services.
An initial phone conversation will allow us to get to know each other, confirm the above basic requirements can be met, and explore the details of becoming a treatment foster parent. If your questions have been answered, you feel confident in our promise to support you through your journey and are ready to proceed, we will send you the initial paperwork. How quickly you complete the paperwork and required online training will determine how quickly the licensing process moves. If pre-approved, you are ready for your first of many home visits.
My home is not perfect but I have a bedroom for foster kids.
Your first home visit will typically happen within 2 weeks after pre-approval. During this visit, you can expect to complete the background check paperwork and fingerprinting. This first visit is an opportunity to learn more about the licensing process, expectations, procedures, and what you can look forward to prior to attending classroom training. Our licensing specialist will walk through your home for an initial assessment. Your home need not be perfect or white glove worthy. We are simply evaluating how your family utilizes the space you have and gaining an understanding of your home life and day to day functions. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get your home ready to welcome foster children. You can expect professionalism, a helpful attitude and most importantly you can count on a relationship based on trust and honesty. Our goal is to make sure you understand what you are signing up for, what that may look like for you and your family and how your life will be impacted by accepting foster children into your home. We encourage questions and want you to be comfortable with the process.
As already mentioned, be aware, there will be a lot of paperwork! Four letters of reference are required. If you are a couple, that means eight unique letters of reference. Collecting references can take time. Be patient with those you ask. During the remaining home visits, there will be questionnaires, numerous forms, and checklists. Some things may seem personal or intrusive but be assured that the questions are required by the state of Wisconsin and are very helpful to Community Care Resources. Again, we want to be sure that you are a qualified and stable foster parent candidate with the abilities needed to care for children with significant trauma. That takes time.
Classroom training can be very emotional.
During classroom training, videos like the one below will be shown. This is a must watch! Josh Shipp shares his personal story in a way you will never, ever forget. Videos like these and stories shared by our own foster parents during training are extremely informative and helpful. It is normal for some prospective foster parents to question their decision, however, most gain clarity and the training solidifies their decision to become a foster parent.
Where is foster parent training held?
30 hours of classroom training will be held in two sessions of two days each with a month in between sessions. There is never a cost to attend foster parent training nor for the accommodations provided to those traveling more than one hour to our home office. Attending training in our Middleton office will most likely be the only time you will ever visit us. Why? Because we come to you. Our Clinical Case Managers work in small regions around the state of Wisconsin and visit with foster parents and foster children in the home every week! Please be assured, it does not matter that our office is in Middleton and you live in Eau Claire, Racine, Outagamie, Rock or any other county. We come to you every week!
By now, 3-4 months have passed while both you and our licensing specialist have been busy with paperwork, home visits, and classroom training. Now it is time for your home study to be written. This is a lengthy process and takes some time to prepare before submission to the state. Shortly after submission, your license will be issued and you can expect to get your first placement quickly. Your first placement will be dependent on what your preferred demographics are and what population of children you wish to care for. We have strict procedures on placing children in a home that will offer the optimal opportunity for success and healing.
Congratulations! You are a now licensed foster parent and it took 3-5 months.
Your license is active for two years. During this time you will be required to complete 24 hours of trauma-informed care. If training is completed and required paperwork (yes, more paperwork) is on file, your license will be eligible for renewal. The overwhelming majority of our foster parents stay on with us for many years. We have witnessed some amazing healing through love, trust, and treatment programs. Many of our kiddos are reunited with their birth parents, some are adopted and many age out of the foster care system and go on to live very healthy productive lives. We look forward to welcoming you into our family and hope you make your first phone call today.
Call Jane now 800-799-0450