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Why Getting a Foster Care License Takes So Long

Getting a foster parent license takes time. How long it takes to become a foster parent often depends on how quickly necessary paperwork is submitted. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork. Community Care Resources has a professional team available to walk applicants through the licensing process in a timely, organized manner. Applicants are not rushed, and it will require patience because the process is lengthy, but it will be worth the wait.

Requirements to get a Wisconsin foster care license.

If hundreds of Wisconsin foster kids are waiting for a loving foster home, why does it take so long to get licensed? Short answer: it just does...and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Caring for someone else's children requires Wisconsin to know you from top to bottom and side to side. We need to get to know you. There are references, background checks, home visits, and classroom training. The state mandates most steps to become a foster parent, and CCR requires others. At Community Care Resources, we have a well-organized, thorough licensing process that will prepare you to care for kids with trauma histories.

 Here are some of the basic qualifications to become a foster parent with CCR.

  • Resident of Wisconsin
  • 25 years or older 
  • Sufficient income for the needs of your current family (no income requirement)
  • Stable, healthy relationships with spouse, partner, family, and friends.
  • A flexible schedule with availability to be at home when foster kids are not in school.
  • Background checks include the release of convictions, restraining orders, domestic violence, and any records held by the Department of Human Services.

Please visit our How to Qualify to be a Foster Parent page for a complete list of basic requirements.

Wisconsin foster parents must pass a background check.

An initial phone conversation will confirm basic requirements are met for becoming a treatment foster care parent. If your questions have been answered and you're ready to begin, we will send the initial paperwork. How quickly you complete the paperwork will determine how fast the licensing process moves. Paperwork slows many people down or scares them off altogether. Sadly, the paperwork looks more daunting than it is, and many people never return it.

A background check, fingerprints, and references are the pieces of the licensing process that take the most time. If you have lived outside Wisconsin in the past five years, CCR will run background checks in the states you have lived. Even if a background is squeaky clean, a background check and fingerprints are required. Perhaps there is a misdemeanor or felony in your past. Don't worry just yet. We can talk with you about any concerns. Keep in mind passing a background check doesn't automatically qualify someone as a candidate to be a foster parent. There are many more steps to complete.

Foster parent interviews and home visits.

The first home visit is scheduled after favorable background checks. The first visit is an opportunity to learn more about the licensing process, expectations, and details of the upcoming steps. Our licensing specialist will walk through the home for an initial assessment. There is no "perfect" foster home. We evaluate how your family utilizes your space and understand your home life and day-to-day functions. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get your home ready and safe to welcome foster children. Our goal is to understand what you are signing up for, what that may look like for you and your family, and how life will be impacted by accepting treatment foster children into your home.


As mentioned multiple times, 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. There will be questionnaires, numerous forms, and checklists during the remaining home visits. Some things may seem personal or intrusive but be assured that the state requires the questions, and all are in the best interests of the children you will potentially care for. CCR must demonstrate to the state of Wisconsin that candidates are qualified and stable with the abilities needed to care for children with significant trauma. Determining all of that takes time.

Some of the required documents will be:

  • Valid Wisconsin driver's license
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Proof of homeowner or renter insurance
  • Proof of pet vaccinations
  • A floor plan and fire escape plan
  • A medical release from primary care doctor
  • Financial statement and pay stubs

Foster parent training is required.

Thirty hours of classroom training is required and held in two sessions of two days each. There is no cost to attending foster parent training. CCR covers lodging, meals, and all materials. New foster parents from around the state come together to prepare to care for children. Our staff does a great job preparing new foster parents to care for kids with heightened emotions and behaviors. Trust that you will be ready to accept a child or sibling group into your family. Training Prepared Us

Foster parent home study.

Now it is time for us to write your home study. It is a lengthy process and takes time to prepare. (The average home study can take 8-10 hours to write) A license is issued shortly after submitting the home study to the state. Your first placement will depend on what population of children you wish to help. We carefully match children with foster parents to ensure that kids have optimal success and healing opportunities.

Congratulations! You are a licensed foster parent, and it took 3-4 months.

A foster license is active for two years. During this time, the completion of 24 hours of trauma-informed care is required. 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. The first license we ever issued in 1989 is still with us. Dan and Colleen have been working with teen girls for 33 years!! If a new foster family can help just one child, we are okay with that!

Call or contact us anytime to get started.


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Middleton, WI 53562
Foster families needed for sibling groups and older youth. You CAN help no matter where you live.


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