Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare

Child Welfare Services

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Child Welfare Services in Wisconsin
Reports and other information about Wisconsin's child welfare services.

The following services are within the legal jurisdiction of the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare (BMCW). Some are provided directly by BMCW; others are contracted to the partners listed. Child welfare services are initiated to provide the immediate protection of children.

Access (BMCW) - This unit takes referrals on cases of alleged child abuse/neglect from the public. The (414) 220-SAFE line is answered 24 hours, every day. Access workers screen calls to determine if the report meets the state standards of abuse or neglect. Those reports screened in for a safety assessment are assigned a response time before forwarding the case to the Initial Assessment unit.

Initial Assessment (BMCW) - Initial Assessment (IA) social workers conduct a safety assessment of the child during a visit at the child's school, home, or other location. They also determine if maltreatment has occurred. The Initial Assessment worker interviews the family and others involved with the child to get a complete picture of family functioning and identify current and impending dangers. Services to ensure the safety of the child will be put into place in the home if the child is found to be unsafe. If the parent cannot or will not control for safety in the home, the child may be taken into temporary physical custody.

Case Assignment and Placement (Professional Services Group) - When BMCW determines that a family needs help to keep children safe, a case transfers from Initial Assessment to either the Intensive In-Home Services or the Ongoing Case Management unit. The Placement unit assigns the case to a partner agency. If the child is going to be placed in out-of-home care, the Placement unit also provides the agency with the needs of the child or sibling group so that a suitable foster family can be located. If the child is to be placed with relatives, which is preferred, background checks will be done to ensure the relative’s home is a safe place for the child. A relative search will also be done so relatives can be notified that the child has come into care.

Intensive In-Home Services (Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Community Services) and SaintA - Intensive In-Home Services are provided when a safety assessment determines that the children can remain safely in the home with services in place that address the safety issues. BMCW's partners provide core services that help families deal with issues that may put the child at risk. An Intensive In-Home Services worker visits the home at least once a week to work with the family.

Ongoing Case Management (Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Community Services) and SaintA - When safety cannot be maintained in the home, court intervention is sought and a Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) order established. CHIPS cases are monitored by ongoing case managers as long as a court order is in place. The case manager ensures the family receives the services it needs to work toward reunification or some other form of permanency for the child. The case manager also supports the foster parents to ensure the needs of the child are met. BMCW's partner agencies also recruit and license foster and adoptive parents and match children to families that can meet their specific needs. To learn more about becoming a foster parent, see the agencies' web sites. BMCW relies on the community to provide homes for children entering foster care. A team of recruiters works to build awareness of the need for foster/adoptive families and provides information about the licensing process.

Staff Development and Foster Parent Training (Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership for Professional Development) (Links to training schedule.) - The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee partners with BMCW to provide both staff development and foster parent training.

Family Intervention, Support, and Services (FISS) (Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Services) - FISS serves adolescents from the age of 12 to 17 and their families who approach Juvenile Court to file petitions to declare the minor to be in need of service and supervision. Services begin with a family assessment and identification of needs. The family is then linked to appropriate resources in the community to avoid court intervention.

Kinship Care (Professional Services Group) - Families caring for children of relatives may be eligible to receive financial assistance. Kinship Care representatives visit the home to learn why the child is not living with the parent and identify services needed. BMCW and Professional Services Group administer the program for Milwaukee County.

Independent Living (Lad Lake) - All youth who have been court-ordered into out-of-home placements for a minimum of six months after the age of 15, are eligible for Independent Living services. These services are provided as part of ongoing case management. At the age of 18, youths are referred to the Lad Lake Connections program for assistance in locating housing, employment, education programs, and other services. They are eligible for these services until the age of 21.

Contact the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare

Last Revised: May 12, 2014


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