Ready to become a foster parent in Wisconsin? Choosing the best foster care agency means learning everything you can before starting the process. Understanding the many differences between county foster care and a private foster agency is essential. Choosing the right agency for yourself and your family will depend greatly on three things: The ages and characteristics of the children you wish to help and the amount of support you will need while caring for children. Keep in mind: choosing a foster agency has nothing to do with where you live.
Becoming a foster parent varies only slightly between the county and private agencies. Applications, background checks, homes visits, references, and tons of paperwork are unavoidable. Getting your foster care license typically takes 3-4 months; anything longer than that should be a red flag that communication and support may not be the top priority of an agency. The application/licensing process is lengthy and necessary, but it should be a seamless, timely process with lots of handholding and guidance.
Before contacting an agency, there are several things you must consider.
Your answers to questions like these are what will typically drive you to a private, Wisconsin foster agency like CCR or direct you to your county agency. CCR is a treatment-level foster agency that serves kids with trauma histories and successfully places sibling groups together in one home. We rarely place babies or toddlers unless they are part of a sibling group. If you are interested in short-term or emergency placements or wish to foster a relative or specific child, your county agency might be a better fit for you.
A foster agency should have dedicated staff available to speak with at all times during business hours. When an inquiry is made by phone, a natural person should answer the phone, not a recording. If an inquiry is made via a website, a response should be received within 48 hours. Pay attention to red flags when making an initial inquiry.
It will be essential to feel wanted and appreciated when caring for kids in your home. Working with an agency that knows your name and has your back makes difficult days a bit easier. Things only get more urgent and complicated when foster kids are placed in your home. Be confident that you and your family matter to an agency. Communication and attentiveness will be extremely important to you and your kiddos.
On average, 45-50 children are referred to CCR every month from counties across Wisconsin 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 Fond du Lac County? 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!
Why? Simple, because we come to you! We visit with you and your foster kids every week in your home. While most county agencies provide monthly support, CCR has foster parents in 35 Wisconsin counties, and each home receives a plethora of support services and a weekly, in-home support visit.
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. We are contacted regularly by county foster parents and private agency foster parents expressing their frustration with a lack of support, no placements at all, or a revolving door of employees. What we know to be accurate, to care for foster children successfully, is foster parents must receive consistent, dependable support services while feeling like part of a team. If foster parents don't receive the necessary support, they will struggle with children in their care, which often leads to written notice to remove the kids from the home. Unfortunately, this means foster children bounce from house to house, and their trauma compounds.
It will be evident to you within a few short weeks of welcoming a new placement just how much support you might need. Ask lots of 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 CCR will give you:
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 your license remains intact if you are licensed with CCR and relocate to another county. We are incredibly 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.
Ready to learn more or get started? Contact us.