Q: How do I become a foster parent?
A: In order to become a foster parent in the State of Wisconsin, an individual must be 21 years of age, or at least 18 years of age if providing foster home care for a relative. If married, both persons must apply to become foster parents.
Foster parents must have:
- Good mental and physical health as documented by a physician
- Demonstrate personal and financial stability
- Have an understanding of child development and behavior
- Participate in a criminal background check
- Ensure a safe physical environment in which to care for children
- Demonstrate an ability to be flexible
- Willingness to work with the placing agency to assist in reuniting the child with the family
Q: Must I obtain a Foster Home license in order to have a child placed in my home?
A: Yes, this is required in the State of Wisconsin unless you are a close relative or guardian of the child in your care.
Q: For what length of time is the Foster Home license issued?
A: A Foster Home license is issued for not longer than two years. At the time of expiration, foster parents may apply for renewal of the license.
Q: How much does a Foster Home license cost?
A: There is no charge for the license.
Q: Are foster parents reimbursed for the cost of caring for children?
A: Foster parents are reimbursed for room, board, clothing and medical expenses by the placing agency through a monthly rate. The monthly rate varies depending upon the child’s age and his/her special needs. The Basic Foster Care Rates can be found on the Wisconsin DCF website.
The needs of each child are assessed within thirty days of placement. Based on the emotional, physical and behavioral characteristics of the child the rate may be adjusted upward to allow the foster parents to meet those needs.
Q: What kind of help do children in foster care need?
A: Foster children need to be provided with a safe, nurturing and caring home environment. They may have exceptional behavioral or physical needs, which require extraordinary support and assistance. Foster parents will have the support of the social worker assigned to the case and will work with other service providers and individuals significant in the child’s life. Foster parents are called upon to assist children to reconnect with their parents or other family members.
Q: Can foster parents adopt a child?
A: Most foster children are not available for adoption. The vast majority of foster children are returned to their parental homes. If a foster child becomes adoptable, foster parents may apply and be considered for potential adoption.
Q: Must the foster parent accept any child an agency offers for placement?
A: No. Information about a child is shared with the prospective foster parents prior to placement, so they can help decide whether the child should be placed in their home.
Q: Do children spend time with their own parents while away from them in foster care?
A: Children nearly always need to stay in touch with their parents, siblings and extended family while placed in care. Time together is arranged through the agency social worker and is almost always expected to occur weekly if not more often.
Q: Are there rules about the discipline and care of foster children?
A: Yes. Your parenting style is important. Physical discipline, including spanking, hitting, slapping, or kicking is not allowed for any foster child. As part of the orientation process, persons interested in becoming foster parents will learn more about the acceptable discipline practices. Once licensed, foster parents receive specialized training and the assigned social worker supports them in their work with each child in placement.
Foster Care Rate Information
Foster Care Insurance Program
State of Wisconsin Foster Parent Handbook
Wisconsin Chapter DCF 56
Foster Care & Adoption Resource Center