Fostering children is a highly satisfying and rewarding adventure! It's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and often their families too. Of course, along with the rewards come some challenges.
Most children placed in foster care have been removed from the care of their parents or primary caregiver due to neglect or maltreatment. Children of all ages, siblings who need to stay together, and children with varying physical, emotional or behavioral challenges are among the children who need foster care. Some children have no special needs, but their parents are unable to care for them at the time they are placed out of their home. When relatives are not available or appropriate to care for the children, we look to our foster families. Foster families provide a safe place for these children to live, caring for them and nurturing them while their families work towards remedying the issues that resulted in the children being placed out of their homes. Foster parents are part of a team, along with the child's parents, Social Services staff, and perhaps other invested relatives, that help a family reunite and stay together. Some children stay only a few days, other stay much longer. The goal is permanency for a child - a stable and permanent home they can belong to. Almost always, the primary effort is toward reunification of the child with their parents. Sometimes permanency for a child may be through a guardianship or adoption with relatives or other families, sometimes with their foster families.
Foster parents can be married or single, with or without children, experienced or not with special needs children. Homeowners or renters can be foster parents. Insurance is required for the residence and the family's vehicles that transport children. Many foster parents work outside the home. Children placed in your home may be of any race, the same or different than you. We try to make the best match in placing a child in your home, considering their needs and your family's composition and strengths.
For more information on fostering in Wisconsin, go to http://www.wifostercareandadoption.org/.
Some basic requirements include:
- must be 21 years of age older
- successful completion of a background check on all household member over age 12, fingerprints are required for foster parents
- meeting State and local requirements for safety, space and care of children
- have the skills, attitude and commitment to manage the many behaviors and feelings of children and youth
- the use of non-physical discipline methods to develop appropriate behaviors
- an ability to work cooperatively with the birth parents and Agency staff
- an understanding and acceptance of the temporary nature of foster care and an ability to help a child transition back to their home or move on to a permanent or adoptive home
- having an income sufficient to care for you and your family (financial assistance is provided for the needs of the foster children)
- submission of four favorable non-relative references and one favorable relative reference
- completion of medical exams for all household members
- completion of trainings within timeframes