Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




Department of Children and Families’ public benefit programs will continue during the partial federal government shutdown. Read the full announcement here.

Questions Parents ask when your Child is Placed Outside the Home

Who needs to pay child support for a child placed outside the home?

Both parents of a child placed outside the home may be required to pay child support. Out-of-home placements include foster homes, Kinship Care, group homes, child caring institutions, and juvenile correctional facilities.

Federal and State laws require parents to pay child support even if the out-of-home placement is not their choice. Parents may have to pay child support for their child's care whether the parents live together or not. Parents may owe child support back to the time the child was first placed outside the home. Parents are not required to pay child support for their child in an out-of-home placement if they would suffer substantial hardship because of child support payments. (For example: they would have to move from their home or file bankruptcy.) Step parents do not have to pay child support for a stepchild.

Social Service agencies and juvenile courts work with the local child support agencies to provide all needed child support services for cases of a child placed outside the home.

How much child support do parents pay?

Courts use the guidelines in the Child Support Percentage of Income Standard to decide the amount of child support. Parents may ask the court to consider a smaller amount if they are supporting another child.

How long will parents owe child support for their child in an out-of-home placement?

For a child in an out-of-home placement, parents will owe child support until:
  • The local department of social services asks that child support services be stopped, and no past-due child support is owed
  • The out-of-home placement has ended, the child returns to the parents' home, and there is no past-due child support owed
Child support orders that were in place before the child was placed outside the home will continue.

For more information regarding your child's out-of-home placement, contact your local county department of social services