Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

Foster Care Worker Information

Child welfare agencies throughout Wisconsin work to ensure that all children are safe in their own homes. And, when that cannot be assured, they are provided a safe and loving foster or adoptive home. Every day child welfare agencies, caseworkers, and foster families in Wisconsin make a difference for children living in foster care.

Foster care is home-like care provided by licensed foster parents for children who cannot live with their parents because they:

  • Are unsafe
  • Have special care or treatment needs their parents are unable to manage
  • Are other circumstances resulting in their parents or family being unable to care for them

Placement in Foster Care

Placement in foster care is usually temporary and gives families time to make necessary changes so the child can safely live in his or her home and community. Most children in foster care return home to their families, which is called reunification. When children cannot return home, they find permanence through adoption, guardianship, or other means.

Caseworkers must follow the placement requirements described in the Ongoing Services Standards.

The Placement Documentation Manual provides additional information related to documenting a child’s placement in out-of-home care. The primary purpose of the manual is to clarify eWiSACWIS placement documentation requirements for child welfare staff, supervisors and managers.

Placement Resources

There are many resources that can assist caseworkers and agencies in making placements in foster care.

Geographic Placement Resource System

The Geographic Placement Resource System (GPRS) can help caseworkers and agencies find foster care placements for children throughout Wisconsin. The GPRS uses geo-mapping to map all out-of-home care providers and foster children throughout Wisconsin, as well as the United States if Wisconsin is responsible for those providers and children.

Wisconsin Statutes, Administrative Rules, Acts, and Standards

There are a number of different statutes, administrative rules, and standards governing the child welfare system, and specifically foster care, in Wisconsin.

State Statutes are laws created by the Wisconsin State Legislature all agencies must follow.

  • Chapter 48 is the Children's Code in Wisconsin.
  • Chapter 938 is the Juvenile Justice Code in Wisconsin.

Administrative Rules are written by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and are submitted to the Wisconsin State Legislature for approval.  Most often there are statutory requirements directing the Department to create administrative rules.  All agencies in Wisconsin must follow the Administrative Rules.  

Chapter DCF 12 Caregiver Background Checks describes the background checks for caregivers, specifically foster parents and non-client household members in foster homes.

Chapter DCF 21 Re-entry into Out-of-Home Care for Youth 18 Years of Age or Over, but Under 21 Years of Age describes the extension of out-of-home care to age 21 in Wisconsin.

Chapter DCF 37 Information to be Provided to Out-of-Home Care Providers describes the information that is required to be provided to out-of-home care providers at the time of placement. Forms required under DCF 37 are:

Chapter DCF 55 Subsidized Guardianship describes the requirements for subsidized guardianship in Wisconsin.

Chapter DCF 56 Foster Home Care for Children describes the requirements for licensing foster homes in Wisconsin.

  • DCF 56 Family Foster Care For Children describes the requirements for licensing foster homes in Wisconsin. This version of DCF 56 includes boxes and asterisks to easily differentiate between:
    • licensing agency exceptions and waivers
    • exceptions and waivers DCF Exceptions Panel must review
  • DCF 56 Family Foster Care for Children - Annotated Version provides policy interpretation of the licensing requirement(s) for licensing foster homes in Wisconsin. This version of DCF 56 includes boxes and asterisks to easily differentiate between:
    • licensing agency exceptions and waivers
    • exceptions and waivers DCF Exceptions Panel must review

The Ongoing Services Standard provides

  • A framework for the ongoing case process.
  • Focus on safety, permanence, and well-being for children and their families served under Wisconsin Statute
  • Practice expectations to ensure families statewide receive consistent, effective, and responsive intervention that support the change process.

When viewing the Ongoing Services Standard

  • Practice requirements are contained within the boxes
  • Additional information outside of the boxes provide further guidance about case practice.

Child welfare agencies must ensure all actions of either agency or contracted staff comply with the Standards.

While the Standards establish requirements throughout the ongoing case process, county agencies and the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS) may develop more prescriptive policies and procedures.

Indian tribes are sovereign nations. They can create their own laws and regulations for certain programs or services.

Some tribes use state licensing requirements, others have their own standards and policies.

Agencies and caseworkers working with a tribe should contact the tribal agency to learn about the tribe’s policies.

Foster Parent Insurance Program

This program ensures foster parents are reimbursed for damage or loss of property, not covered by their private insurance policy, caused by children placed in their care. The compensation applies to both accidental and intentional damage. The following are informational documents and forms needed to submit a claim.

Please see the Foster Parent Insurance Program Brochure and the forms to file a claim.

Foster Care Forms and Publications

Foster Care Forms & Publications for Workers  is a comprehensive list of forms and publications for use by Wisconsin Foster Care Workers.

The Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center

The Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (FCARC) offers a variety of resources for agencies, caseworkers, and foster parents:

  • Brochures
  • Library and learning materials
  • Posters
  • Calendar of statewide events and trainings
  • Support services to the foster care program in Wisconsin.

Staff at the FCARC can also be reached by telephone at 1-800-762-8063.

Contact Information

For more information about foster care programs, services or requirements, please contact:

Out-of-Home Care Specialist
Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care
Division of Safety and Permanence
Telephone: (608) 422-6937
Fax: (608) 266-0260

Permanency Program Planner
Foster Parent Insurance Program
Bureau of Permanence and Out-of-Home Care
Division of Safety and Permanence
Telephone: (608) 422-6943
Fax: (608) 266-0260