Understanding the
Uniform Foster Care Rate

To learn more about the uniform foster care rate, information is provided on the following topics:


What is the Uniform Foster Care Rate?

The Uniform Foster Care Rate (UFCR) is a standard scale of monthly payments to foster parents for the cost of caring for a foster child. Because the rate is based on the needs of each child, it may also include extra payments (called supplemental and exceptional payments) in addition to a basic maintenance rate.


What does the basic maintenance rate include?

The basic rate is intended to cover food, clothing, housing, basic transportation, personal care and other expenses on a monthly basis.

Certified Level One

The Basic Maintenance Rate provided for a child of any age by a foster home that is certified to provide level one care is:

Level One Jan. 2016
Jan. 2017

Certified Above Level One 

The current age-related Basic Maintenance Rate for a foster home that is certified to provide care at a level of care that is higher than Level One care. The rate for each child is listed below by age group. 

Age of Child Jan. 2016 Jan. 2017
0 - 4 $384.00 $384.00
5 - 11 $420.00 $420.00
12 - 14 $478.00 $478.00
15 - 18 $499.00 $499.00

When a foster child in your care turns 5, 12, or 15 years of age, you will receive the next highest rate effective the date of on which the birthday occurs.

You will receive payment for your foster child for the day the child enters your home but not for the day the child leaves your home.

On the next page is a breakdown of the percentages typically spent on the basic necessities for children at various ages. This is intended as a guide. It is understood that your family will use the monthly Uniform Foster Care Rates in the manner which best meets your foster child's needs. .


Guidelines for use of the basic rate

These specific breakdowns by food, clothing, housing, and personal care and other expenses are based on the cost of raising a child as calculated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because the cost of raising a child is more than the amount provided through the Basic Maintenance Rate, these percentages provide only a guide for foster parents. The figures presented are percentages of the basic maintenance rate received for a child in the designated age group.

Basic Rate Guidelines


  Age Percentage 
  0 - 4 17 to 30%
  5 - 11 26 to 33%
  12 -14 Approx. 33%
  15 + Approx. 33%



  Age Percentage
0 - 4 Approx. 6%
5 - 11 Approx. 8%
12 - 14 Approx. 11%
15 + Approx. 13%



Age Percentage 
0 - 4 48 to 58%
5 - 11 Approx. 43%
12 -14 Approx. 39%
15 + Approx. 36%


Personal Care and Other Expenses*

Age Percentage
0 - 4 Approx. 18%
5 - 11 Approx. 19%
12 - 14 Approx. 17%
15 + Approx. 17%

*Other expenses include but are not limited to haircuts, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and school supplies.


Is there an additional payment for children who have special needs?

Yes, for a foster home that is certified to provide care at a level of care that is higher than Level One care. If your foster child has emotional, behavioral, or medical needs, you may request an additional monthly payment to cover the costs of caring for the child's special needs. When approved, this payment is called a SUPPLEMENTAL RATE..


How is the supplemental rate determined?

Within the first 30 days after a foster child is placed in your home, you and your case worker will discuss whether the child may qualify for a supplemental payment. If your foster child has needs that require special care or supervision, the case worker will submit a description of the child's problems or characteristics.

Evaluations from doctors, psychiatrists, therapists or other specialists may be included with the case worker's report.

Using a point scale and all of the information regarding the child's emotional, behavioral and medical problems, the placing agency determines the level of care the child requires and identifies special needs of the child.

The level of care and the identified special needs of the child establishes the Supplemental Rate.


Can supplemental rates be changed?

You and your case worker will review your foster child's progress at least every six months. At those reviews, the Supplemental Rate may be changed if the child's condition is changed. Inform your case worker of significant changes when they occur.


What if a child needs constant care or supervision?

If a child has extraordinary needs, you may receive an additional payment called an Exceptional Rate. This payment may be provided if the child's placement in your home allows the child to be released from a more restrictive setting or prevents the child's placement in such a setting. Only providers certified above a Level One can receive exceptional rates.

You may receive an Exceptional Rate if, for example:

  • the child has intensive physical needs which require increased supervision.
  • the child has severe behavior problems.
  • the child is diagnosed as having a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, severe mental retardation, brain damage or autism.
  • the child chronically abuses alcohol or other drugs and needs close supervision.
  • you are transporting the child to the school they attended prior to removal and this is in a district other than the district you live in.

No monthly payment for the combined Basic Maintenance, Supplemental and Exceptional Rates may exceed $2,000.00.


What if a child comes to my home with few or no clothes?

You may be provided an INITIAL CLOTHING ALLLOWANCE (see table below) if:

  • it is your foster child's first placement; or
  • it has been at least four months since the child was last in out-of home care.

Clothing Allowance

Age Group

Clothing Allowance
0 - 4 Up to $225.00
5 - 11 Up to $263.00
12 - 14 Up to $300.00
15 - 18 Up to $300.00

Periodic clothing allowances, such as for seasonal clothing, are not allowed. An amount is included in the Basic Maintenance Rate for this purpose each month. 


What if I don't agree with the rate?

You may request that the rate be re-determined. You may discuss your concerns with the rate setter and the agency director. If you still disagree with the rate, you should consider appealing through the fair hearing process. Your agency director or Foster Care Coordinator will tell you how to request a fair hearing.


Is there liability insurance for foster parents?

A statewide fund provides some protection when your own insurance policies do not. The state fund covers some property damage and personal injury caused by the foster child. The extent of coverage and exclusions is subject to change. The agency that licensed your foster home can give you up-to-date information. 


More questions?

Contact your case worker or Foster Care Coordinator for further explanations.  See also our Foster Care website at http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/children/foster/index.htm 

If you have general questions about foster care or adoption in Wisconsin, you can also contact the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center at http://www.wifostercareandadoption.org/  or 1-800-947-8074.

Last Revised: March 23, 2016


The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.