Do you want to become a foster parent in Wisconsin? You have choices beyond your county agency. Although our goals are similar; place children in a safe, loving, temporary environment until a permanency plan is achieved, there are many differences between county foster care and a private foster agency. Choosing the right agency for you and your family will depend greatly on the ages and characteristics of the children you wish to help. It has nothing to do with where you live. You can live in any county in Wisconsin and license with CCR. All of the foster children we place are referred to us by their county of origin when the county cannot locate a suitable home for a child or sibling group. The amount of support we provide is promised up front and our staff is available to you 24/7. If you want to qualify to be a Wisconsin foster parent, CCR will speak with you immediately and answer every question you have right on the phone. That alone is a big difference between many agencies.
The process to become a foster parent is defined by the state of Wisconsin and 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 support and services to foster parents may not be the top priority of an agency. The process is lengthy and necessary but it should be a seamless, timely process with lots of handholding and guidance.
A foster agency should have dedicated staff available to speak with at all times during business hours. In addition, staff should be available via email or Facebook messenger within a few hours no matter the day of the week. If you struggle to connect with an agency just to ask a question or the foster care license process is taking way too long, these might be big indicators of what to expect when you are a licensed foster parent. You are going to need more support than you can imagine. Pay attention to red flags from the initial inquiry. How long before you speak with someone? Are your questions answered with honesty and transparency? Is your family welcome and appreciated for inquiring? Is there a 24/7 hotline? Things only get more urgent and complicated when foster kids are placed in your home. Be confident that your family matters to an agency and that they will be attentive to you and your kiddos.
Prior to 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 Community Care Resources or direct you to your county agency. CCR is a treatment level foster agency, serving kids with significant trauma and successfully placing sibling groups together in one home. We rarely place infants 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 good fit for you. Interested in helping sibling groups or kids with significant trauma and want the promise of consistent foster parent support services? Choose CCR.
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 Juneau 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! 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 families in 34 Wisconsin counties and each home receives a plethora of support services and weekly, in-home support visits.
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 on a regular basis from 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 true, is that foster parents must receive consistent, dependable support services while feeling like part of a team to successfully care for foster children. 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 home. Unfortunately, this means foster children bounce from house to house and their trauma compounds.
Foster Parents need an abundance of support. Ask these questions of a foster agency:
It will be obvious 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:
Rock County foster mom explains why support is so important to her and her 5 foster kids!
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!
Ready to talk? Call Jane 608-203-1318