Adoptive Parent Resources

family-fall-scene-3kids-mixed.jpgAdoptive parents in Wisconsin can receive support after adoption finalization through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or the permanency support program funded by DCF, the Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC).

Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC)

The Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC) is a statewide program that provides resources to adoptive families, as well as others with past or present involvement in the child welfare systems. WiFCC services include: 

  • Information, referrals, and support via phone, email, or in person
  • Trainings and conferences
  • Support groups
  • Free family networking events
  • Short-term case management
  • … and a growing catalogue of other resources and opportunities

For more information, visit the WiFCC website, send an email to, or speak to a staff member at (800) 762-8063.

Adoption Assistance

Adoption assistance (AA) is a supportive resource for children who have been adopted and their families. AA provides Foster Care Medicaid and the chance to apply for a one-time reimbursement of up to $2,000 in adoption-related expenses. For some children, AA also includes a monthly subsidy.

AA is established by an agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the adoptive parent(s). An AA agreement must be entered into before adoption finalization. AA is typically available until the child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation, unless other circumstances exist.

Learn more about AA, including AA amendments (subsidy increases), medical assistance, and one-time reimbursement of adoption-related expenses.

Medical Assistance

Children with an Adoption Assistance Agreement are eligible for Foster Care Medicaid while the agreement remains active, plus a grace period.

For more information on Foster Care Medicaid for children receiving Adoption Assistance, see Adoption and Medical Assistance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or contact the DCF Medicaid Program at (833) 543-5265.

Medicaid Outside of Wisconsin

In nearly all cases, Foster Care Medicaid can be transferred to the new state for Adoption Assistance recipients through the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA). 

Prior to moving or as soon as possible after moving, notify the Adoption Assistance Program at (866) 666-5532 of the date of the move and your address in the new state. A referral will be sent to the new state to have your child enrolled in Medicaid there. 

Some states take several weeks to enroll a child who has moved from another state. It is important that you notify the Wisconsin Adoption Assistance Program as soon as possible to avoid gaps in coverage for your child. We also recommend stocking up on at least one month’s worth of any necessary prescriptions prior to leaving Wisconsin.


Children in some counties may be eligible for additional health care benefits through the Care4Kids program for up to 12 months after adoption finalization.

For questions about a child’s enrollment in Care4Kids, contact the Health Care Coordination Team at (855) 371-8104.

Adoption Records Search Program

Wisconsin’s Adoption Records Search Program works with adoptees, adults whose birth parents’ rights were terminated, birth parents, and other relatives gain access to vital pieces of adoptees’ birth and pre-adoption stories.

The Wisconsin Adoption Records Search Program can only provide information when termination of parental rights and/or adoption finalization occurred in Wisconsin

Visit the Adoption Records Search page for more information about the program or to apply for access to records.

Financial Support for College

Brighter Star

Youth who were adopted at age 16 or older are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 per school year in financial aid through Brighter Star, Wisconsin’s Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program

Brighter Star funds are awarded through the Transition Resource Agencies (TRA). Processes may differ between regions, but eligible youth will likely need to complete an application to receive funds. To get started:

Other Resources

Explore the resources available on the Paying for College webpage for:

  • Campus contacts at universities and technical schools across Wisconsin for former foster youth
  • Financial aid and scholarship opportunities for youth who were involved in or adopted from the child welfare system
  • College readiness and planning resources from the Department of Public Instruction
  • College admission and testing resources (including information of ACT and SAT fee waivers)

Additional Resources for Relative Adoptive Parents

Relative adoptive parents must navigate the often-complicated transition from the role as a child’s relative to a new parenting role. For some families, this is a rather smooth transition; for many others, this can be a challenging change for everyone involved. For more resources and support, visit the Wisconsin Family Connection Center’s Find Resources and Support As A Relative Caregiver page

Wisconsin Kinship Navigator

The Kinship Navigator Portal can be used by any relative caregiver in Wisconsin, including relative adoptive parents, to identify services and resources available to them based on their specific caregiving situation.

Caregivers will be asked to answer a set of questions specific to their situation, and based on those answers, they will be provided with an array of information about their eligibility for various programs. You can also view or download the Kinship Navigator Guidebook.

Relative Caregiver Stakeholder Group

Interested in sharing your experience as a relative caregiver in Wisconsin? The Relative Caregiver Stakeholder Group offers recommendations, feedback, and guidance on the development of resources, support, and education for relative caregivers in Wisconsin. Interested individuals can apply to join the Stakeholder Group and, once accepted, join other relative caregivers across the state to provide valuable lived expertise.

Learn more about the Relative Caregiver Stakeholder Group and other lived experience work at DCF or submit a participation interest form today