Wisconsin Uniform Foster Care Rates

All licensed foster parents receive a foster care payment to reimburse for the care of a foster child, called the Uniform Foster Care Rate. The foster care licensing agency will provide foster parents with a copy of a brochure explaining the Uniform Foster Care Rate, reimbursement amounts, clothing allowances, and how to appeal the foster care rate.

What is the Uniform Foster Care Rate?

The Uniform Foster Care Rate (UFCR) is a non-taxable reimbursement given to foster parents to pay for the cost of caring for a foster child. More information about the Uniform Foster Care Rate can be found in the following brochure:

There are four parts of the Uniform Foster Care Rate:

  • Basic Maintenance Rate
  • Supplemental Rate
  • Exceptional Rate
  • Initial Clothing Allowance
What is the Basic Maintenance Rate?

A set dollar amount based on the age of the foster child.

Used to reimburse foster parents for the basic expenses of caring for a foster child:

  • Food,
  • clothing,
  • housing,
  • basic transportation,
  • personal care, and
  • other expenses.

All licensed foster parents are eligible for the Basic Maintenance Rate.

What is the Supplemental Rate?

Additional monthly payment based on the emotional, behavioral, or physical needs of the foster child that exceed normal child development and expectations. 

Determined on a case-by-case basis by completing an assessment, called the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths tool (usually just called CANS) for each child. The CANS looks at:

  • The strengths of a child and their family
  • The needs for the child in a lot of different areas of their lives, such as school development, behavior, and trauma

Only licensed foster parents certified as a level 2 or higher are eligible for the supplemental payments.

CANS Resources for Families

The Levels of Care: Foster Care Licensing brochure describes the different Levels of Care certification for foster parents.

What is the Exceptional Rate?

Additional monthly payment to support the care of a foster child whose level of needs may be so significant that the reimbursements described above will not provide enough resources for foster parents to care for the child.

Foster parents who get an Exceptional Rate payment are providing care for children who are at-risk of placement in higher level out-of-home care settings.

Only licensed foster parents certified as a level 2 or higher are eligible for the exceptional payments.

What is the Initial Clothing Allowance?

Foster parents may also get an Initial Clothing Allowance when a child first enters foster care to help pay for the child’s clothing needs.  The Initial Clothing Allowance is a one-time reimbursement and is a dollar amount based upon the child’s age.

All licensed foster parents are eligible for the Initial Clothing Allowance.

How is the Uniform Foster Care Rate determined?

The Basic Maintenance Rate is a dollar amount based on the age of the foster child and is set by the State Legislature. In addition, either the child’s caseworker or the foster home licensor will meet with the foster parents to discuss the needs of the child and recommend whether or not the foster child qualifies for a Supplemental Rate or Exceptional Rate and the amount of that additional reimbursement.

This recommendation should be made within:

  • 30 days after the child’s placement in the foster home
  • No less than every 6 months after

No monthly payment for the combined Basic Maintenance Rate, Supplemental Rate, and Exceptional Rate may be above $2,000.00.

Can the Supplemental Rate or Exceptional Rate be changed?

Foster parents may request a redetermination of the rate at any time. Specific information must be submitted to the agency for approval. The specific information should include:

  • A description of the child’s needs or condition
  • An explanation of the request for additional reimbursement
  • The recommended additional dollar amount

A rate setter within the agency will determine the final reimbursement amount.

What if foster parents do not agree with the rate?

Foster parents may ask that the rate be re-determined. Foster parents may talk about their concerns with the rate setter and the agency director. If foster parents still disagree with the rate, they should think about appealing through the fair hearing process. The agency director or Foster Care Coordinator will tell foster parents how to ask for a fair hearing.

More questions?