Secretary's Advisory Council on Child Welfare

The highest priority of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is to assure the safety of children throughout Wisconsin. The Council on Child Welfare, established by Department of Children and Families Secretary Reggie Bicha, convenes key leaders in child abuse prevention and protective services from across the state to provide advice and counsel to the Department of Children and Families on matters related to protecting vulnerable children and advancing our child protective services system.

The purpose of the Secretary's Council on Child Welfare is to advise the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families regarding policy, budget and program issues that impact the safety, permanence and well-being of Wisconsin's children and families. The Council reports on progress in achieving its stated goals.

The Scope of the Council is child welfare as defined in Chapter 48, Wis. Stats., including Statewide Child Protective Services, out-of-home care, adoption, with a focus on prevention and early intervention to prevent entry and reentry of children and families into the child protective services system.

Council Roles and Areas of Focus:

  • Advise the Secretary and other DCF officials on statewide issues relating to children and families;
  • Develop strategies and recommendations to strengthen the child protective services system, including initial assessment, permanency planning, substitute care, adoption, independent living, Kinship Care, prevention and post-permanency services;
  • Assist the Department in planning Wisconsin's efforts on the Child and Family Services Review, Child and Family Services Plan and other federally-driven initiatives;
  • Propose strategies to prevent abuse and neglect, reduce disproportionality in the child welfare system, advance post-permanency supports for children, improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children in the child welfare system, and enhance service coordination and integration with other family service systems.

Council members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. Council membership is limited to 25 voting members. The Council is co-chaired by two council members as identified by the Secretary. One co-chair represents the private sector (Organizational Representative, Parent, Foster Youth, Group Home Operator, etc.) and one co-chair represents the public sector (County or Tribal).