Want to become a foster parent in Wisconsin? Great news for you: You can choose between your county foster agency or a private agency. There are significant differences worth exploring before you choose one over the other. The support you and your foster kids receive will determine successful outcomes. Being a foster parent can be a difficult job with beautiful rewards. Choosing the best agency for you and your family will take some research. Requirements to become a foster parent, are similar at all agencies and the process to get a license is also similar. The difference lies in what will be promised to foster parents AFTER a child is placed in their home. There are many!
CCR is a private foster agency in Dane County, Wisconsin. We license foster parents and work with Wisconsin county foster agencies to place kids in loving homes where healing can begin. When a county is unable to locate an available county home for a child or sibling group, a private foster agency is contacted and a referral is made. The referring county, in turn, reimburses the private agency for the care of a child. The cost is dependent on the needs of the child and all rates are determined by the state of Wisconsin.
When a child is removed from their home, will be moving from one foster home to another, is in need of additional services, or a home is required to keep siblings together, it is the responsibility of the county to locate an appropriate foster home. Avoiding group homes and residential treatment centers is a common goal between counties and privates. Most kids will make better progress if they remain in a private home with a stable family structure. Community Care Resources is a private agency that places kids in "basic foster homes, Level 2, places sibling groups together in a single home, and specializes in treatment level foster care, Levels 3 and 4.
Each child referred to CCR is assessed to determine the amount of care required to meet their individual needs. Treatment level foster care at CCR means kids are level 2, 3, or 4. Basically, the higher the number, the higher the needs of the child. An individualized treatment plan is designed to address trauma and the effects of prolonged abuse and neglect. Foster parents and caseworkers work together to meet the goals of a child's plan. All CCR foster parents new to fostering begin their journey licensed at a level 2 (just like county foster care).
20% of the 7,400+ children in Wisconsin foster care are in treatment level care. A good question might be: How many children in basic, county foster care would be better served in a treatment level foster home? The answer might surprise all of us. Unfortunately, we can only speculate. What we do know is that children placed with a private, treatment agency like CCR are going to get services and 24/7 support to help aid in the healing of trauma. Even the kids at Level 2.
CCR foster parents are trained in trauma-informed care prior to getting a foster license and attend regular pieces of training to continue their education in caring for kids with significant trauma. When children are placed with a family, parents rely on the tools they learned in the initial training and feedback tells us that our trainers to a thorough job with the trauma content. 30 hours of classroom training are taught by our experienced staff. Training hours are just a part of the process to become a foster parent.
Helping children heal from significant childhood trauma is no small task. It requires the dedication, support, and supervision of an experienced team. Community Care Resources focuses on trauma-informed care and critical supported services. Our foster parents are surrounded by an experienced staff of Master's level clinicians available 24/7 to provide support and resources. These men and women are loyal to their assigned foster families and visit with each of their families every week.
Weekly in-home visits are critical to the successes of both foster parent and child. The relationships formed with caseworkers are very special and foster parents depend on the expertise of their assigned caseworker and look to him or her for guidance and support. We are grateful for each of our staff members and very thankful for their many years of service. Our employees average 15 years of employment with us!
Community Care Resources began serving children and families 30 years ago and is now one of the largest private foster care agencies in Wisconsin. We are able to care for approximately 115 children at any given time because of the kindness and loving hearts of so many amazing foster families. Our families have been helping kids heal for 5, 10, 15, and even 27 years! Many of our families care for more than one child at a time and siblings groups are welcomed by the majority.
One of the most devastating, all too common occurrences in foster care is a disruption known as bouncing. Kids bounce from house to house because foster parents are unable to keep them long term or give a 30-day notice to have the children removed from their care. Most often, notice is given to an agency because a foster parent feels overwhelmed and unsupported. It is a sad day when a 30-day notice is given, for the foster parents and especially the foster child. It means a new house, more strange adults, a new school, loss of friends, and progress towards feeling wanted, safe, and loved are compromised. It also compounds the already existing significant trauma.
We are proud of our CCR foster parents. Giving up and giving notice is a rarity at CCR. When foster parents are feeling overwhelmed, our supervisors step in to help the team with creative solutions. Foster parents are able and encouraged to express themselves during the weekly visits and get ahead of problems before they get too big. Case managers work one on one, hand in hand to help foster parents be as successful as possible.
Being a foster parent is very challenging and requires a team effort, it cannot be done alone. At Community Care Resources, an average placement can last from 18-30 months. Until permanency is achieved, our hope is that a child will remain in a single foster home and not endure further disruption from bouncing. CCR offers many support services that help foster parents succeed:
Private foster agencies in Wisconsin like CCR are doing great work. County agencies would be completely overwhelmed were it not for private agencies. Private foster care agencies are doing difficult work to help children heal from significant trauma. It truly takes a team to help children heal.
We work tirelessly every day and we look forward to 30 more years of helping children.