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Mark, Dodge County

CCR provides so much support and services for our foster youth and to my family.

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Choose the Age of Your Foster Children

Children enter Wisconsin foster care every day and range in age from infancy up to age 18 years. Sadly, abuse and neglect affect kids in every age group, in every community, in every Wisconsin county. Deciding to become a foster parent means giving great consideration to the ages of children you wish to help. Foster parents can preference foster kids by age but we caution new foster parents not to have a preference that is too narrow or specific. Here is why.

What is the average age of a foster child?

The median age of children in, entering, and exiting foster care in the United States in 2018 was as follows:
ƒ The median age of the children in foster care in 2018 was 7.6 years.
ƒ The median age of children entering foster care during 2018 was 6.1 years.
ƒ The median age of children exiting foster care during 2018 was 7.5 years.Foster parent with daughter

While some kids are in basic foster care homes, others are in treatment level homes, many are placed with a relative, and older kids may be in a residential facility or group home. There are typically slightly more males (52%) compared to females (48%) and the age range of Wisconsin foster kids is typical to the numbers nationally.

  • 0-4 Years  31% 
  • 5-10 Years  25%
  • 11-16 Years  24%
  • 17-21 Years  20%

Yes, you can select the age of kids you want to foster.

If you click on any of our "Contact Us" options you will see that we ask straight up what your age preference is. You will also see at the top of our home page in bright orange letters is our plea for new homes interested in fostering kids over age 10. The choice is yours but there are some parameters to consider.

What many prospective foster parents will be disappointed to learn is that we DO NOT have a need for families wishing to foster kids under the age of 3. Especially babies! Many younger children will be placed with a relative or remain in a county foster home. Private foster agencies rarely place children ages 0-3 unless they are part of a larger sibling group. We have not placed a newborn or infant in 5 years.

Believe it or not, we get inquiries every week from women who want to foster a baby often with the option to adopt. Dare we say, gently, that is not a reason to become a foster parent. The goal of foster care is to provide a temporary, safe, healing environment for a child that has been removed from their family home, and reunification with birth family is the goal over 50% of the time.

We are blunt here at CCR and we are quick to tell folks that we cannot consider a license for anyone with the single goal is to adopt a little one.

Wait, you said I can pick the foster kids' age!

So what do we mean exactly? New foster parents must be open to fostering children of school age. We typically break it down by elementary, middle, and high school. The wider your window of preference, the better chance of getting placements and helping children. The bottom line is if you want to foster little ones you must be open to fostering any age between 0-10. Many younger children are in foster care with siblings so the possibility of getting kids of different ages is common.

We currently have a foster family in Columbia County, Wisconsin that is fostering a sibling set of 4. The children range in age from 3-11 and have been placed with this family for 11 months.

A desperate need for foster homes for teenagers.

The need never seems to change. Across the country, foster agencies are desperate for new families to accept kids over age 12. As you can see from the statistics above, 44% of kids are age 11 or older. They come with huge stigmas, attached rumors, and are circled with negative beliefs that they are ALL troubled and can't be helped. There is nothing further from the truth and we have hundreds of success stories to dismantle those thoughts.

This is a great testimony from John who was in care with us for 3 years and thrived.

After my sophomore year is when things really started happening for me. I felt like I was a part of something, I was starting to let my foster parents love me. My caseworker Matt (with CCR 16 years) was there for me 100 percent throughout everything. Sophmore year was tough, I sabatoged myself and wished my foster parents would give up on me and have me moved. I tested them for sure! In my junior and senior years, I really just started turning things around. With CCR there is always somebody there to help you, there is always somebody there to stand by your side, to stick up for you at all times. My foster parents are still like family to me.

The average age of a Wisconsin foster child placed in a CCR home is 10.

The vast majority of kids are over age 6 and in elementary school. Sadly kids between ages 9-12 are the forgotten age group in foster care. Folks tend to think they can "help" little ones more and most everyone talks about how awful teens are. Both of those statements are untrue! We have hundreds of foster parents that will debunk both of those myths.

Having an age preference is okay and encouraged.

There are 3 options. The choice is yours. Foster parents can select one or all three, again it is up to you.

  • PreK-elementary ages
  • Middle school ages
  • High school ages

We won't talk you into doing something you are comfortable with. Nor will we place children in your home that you are not trained and licensed to care for. Remember, there are 3 different levels of Wisconsin foster care: 2, 3, and 4. The higher the number a child is given, the higher the level of trauma and needs. The higher the number the license is given, the more experience and training a foster home has to care for those children respectively.

ALL new foster parents are licensed at Level 2 and can choose the age range they prefer.

We will help you explore which age group might be the best fit for your family. Perhaps you have little kids of your own, maybe you are an empty nester, or have never been a parent. No worries, we will gently walk you through the options and what that might look like for you and your family.



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