Get Involved

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Información en español

Whether you have been touched by the child welfare system or want to make a difference in a child's life, there are multiple ways you can help Wisconsin ensure that all Wisconsin children and youth are safe and loved members of thriving families and communities.

Lived Experience

If you are a youth or adult who has been involved in the child welfare system and are interested in helping shape the child welfare and/or youth justice system, the Department of Children and Families has a variety of opportunity for you to share your lived experience and make an impact.

Supporting Relative Caregivers

We know how important it is to keep families together. If you are caring for a child who is a relative, there are supports available through kinship care.

Kinship care provides monthly financial support to families that are caring for a relative child. The Kinship Care program is available to families that are caring for a relative voluntarily or to families that are caring for a relative due to involvement in the child welfare system. The Kinship Care program can help keep children connected to their families and avoid an out-of-home placement with providers who do not know the child.

If you are interested in becoming a kinship care provider or are a provider with questions, contact the kinship care coordinator in your county or tribe. For families living in Milwaukee County, the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services’ (DMCPS) Kinship Care Program provides additional information.

Families are also encouraged to check out our Kinship Navigator which can help you find local supports that are right for your family, as well as our map of Relative Caregiver Supports Grantee programs.

Foster Care

Foster parents play a big role in helping children, parents and relatives receiving child welfare services. They temporarily care for children and support their families. They do this until the child can safely return home or until child welfare services are no longer necessary. Foster parents are an important partner in helping families achieve their goals.

Foster parenting means working in partnership with:

  • Children and their parents
  • Relatives or like-kin
  • Other placement or service providers (foster parents, teachers, medical, etc.)
  • Local child welfare agency staff
  • The child’s tribe, if applicable

Having supportive foster parents makes all the difference to parents and children when they are not able to live together. Fostering involves the whole family. Successful foster parents encourage positive change in the life of another family. This happens through support, guidance, shared responsibility and a nurturing relationship.

Foster parent expectations:

  • Support regular contact and/or co-parenting with the child’s parents, siblings, relatives and other community connections
  • Assist the child and family in meeting service or treatment goals
  • Offer transitional and post-placement support to the child and their family
  • Allow, encourage, and support participation in cultural, religious or other activities
  • Communicate with the child welfare professional about the child and family’s needs
  • Meet foster home licensing standards and follow agency requirements

Foster parents provide for the child’s basic needs while supporting the family. This commitment to the whole family makes fostering more than a temporary place for a child. It provides the community that all families need to thrive.

To learn about becoming a licensed foster parent, contact the Coalition for Children, Youth, and Families.


Public Adoption is the adoption of a child who is under the guardianship of the State of Wisconsin. There are many children in Wisconsin waiting for adoption. Children who are waiting for a family may come from a variety of situations. Many children are currently living in foster homes. It may be their first placement after removal from their home or the child may have been in several homes. When it is not safe for a child to live with their birth parents it may be necessary to locate an adoptive family. Public Adoption workers assist in matching each child's needs with an adoptive family.

To learn more about becoming an adoptive parent, call the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (FCARC) at 1-800-762-8063. Mention that you're interested in learning about the different types of adoption.