Foster Care/Kinship Care
Rock County Foster Care Program
Rock County Foster parents provide temporary safe and stable homes to children in our community who are unable to safely live with their parents. While doing so, foster parents work collaboratively with the Department, the child’s family, and community services to help achieve a safe and permanent living situation for the child; with birth family or other relatives whenever possible. Foster parents make an incredible difference in the lives of not only the children they care for, but also their entire family.
Types of Foster Homes
All Rock County Foster parents are required to become licensed in the same manner, but there are different specialties available.
- Emergency Foster Home- These homes take placement of children on an emergency basis, which have an “on-call” status. They accept children into their homes any time of the day or evening. Designed to last 30-60 days until a general foster home is identified to be a good match for the child(ren).
- General Foster Home- Homes who are willing to take placement of children for as long as they need to be cared for, which is meant to be temporary. This could be for a couple days to a couple years, depending on the projection of the case. General foster homes work collaboratively with birth families as they work towards reunification. They may be willing to serve as a permanent placement resource if the court determines that the child(ren) are not able to safely return home.
- Child Specific Foster Home- Child specific homes include relatives and non-relatives (who have had a prior significant relationship with the child or a parent). Non-relatives may consist of teachers, coaches, individuals with like-kin relationships, a friend’s parents, etc. Non-relatives must become licensed within 30 days of placement (60 days with a granted 30 day extension). They may be willing to serve as a permanent placement resource if the court determines that the child(ren) are not able to safely return home.
- Respite Home- These homes provide temporary care to children who are placed in foster homes, kinship care homes, and children whose families are actively receiving services from the department.
Kinship Care is a program that is offered by the state of Wisconsin and then administered by each individual county. It provides financial support to applicants who are providing for a minor child that they are related to in the absence of the parents or in the event that the parents are unable to provide for their child.
The eligibility and program requirements for Kinship Care are set forth in Wisconsin Chapter DCF 58 Administrative Code
There are three basic eligibility requirements for Kinship Care:
- the basic needs of the child can be better met with the relative than with the parent
- the placement is in the best interests of the child
- the child currently or might meet the requirements to be in need of protection or services if the child were to remain with his or her parent(s)
Other requirements include:
- a criminal background check on the relative caretaker and all adult household members;
- cooperation with the agency by the relative caretaker
- the relative caretaker must apply for other public assistance or benefits the child might be eligible for
- the relative caretaker must cooperate with referring the parents to child support unless the relative caretaker is granted an exemption
- Kinship living arrangements and eligibility must be reviewed every 12 months
If you are interested in more information about Kinship Care for a child you are caring for, contact Kinship Coordinator, Sara Avalos in Rock County. The Kinship Care Coordinator can answer your questions about becoming a Kinship Care Provider and having a child placed in your home.
There are three types of Kinship Care:
Court Ordered Kinship= a child was placed with a relative by Child Protective Services. If the relative is interested in Kinship, the worker will make a referral. If receiving Kinship, the relative is required to participate in the Relative Foster Parent licensing process.
Long Term Kinship Care= a relative is granted 48.977 guardianship of the child (typically when reunification with the parent cannot be achieved at the time).
Voluntary Kinship= a relative is providing for a child through a private family arranged plan or a 48.9795 guardianship order.
More information about Kinship is available at dcf.wisconsin.gov/kinship
Becoming a Foster Parent
- Individuals or families interested in becoming foster parents are required to fulfill certain basic requirements, which include training, background screenings and a home study.
- Children age one and older are unable to share a bedroom with an adult(unless child has a medical issue and a physician has determined it is in the child's best interest to share a bedroom with an adult)
- All children in the home, 6 years or older, may only share a bedroom with a child of the same gender
- Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (18 if a relative). The foster parent should be mentally and physically fit in order to care for the child(ren)'s needs in their care
- Applicants must have the necessary resources and ability to meet the requirements of his/her own family without depending on the foster care rate for expenses
- Applicants must have a history of positive parenting
- The foster home and property in which it is situated, including other buildings and structures, must be maintained in a state of good repair and in sanitary condition while also meeting certain safety standards
- Applicants must be willing to work collaboratively with the department, birth families, and services in order to work towards reunification between children and their families
- *****This is not an inclusive list*****
Additional foster home licensing requirements: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/publications/pdf/0131.pdf
You can make a difference for a child and their family by becoming a licensed foster parent in Rock County. There is a need for foster parents to care for children of all ages. We especially need foster parents who can care for sibling groups and teen "Fostering"...The perspective of current Foster Parents
How to Become a Foster Parent
- If you have an interest in learning more about becoming a foster parent with the Rock County Foster Care Program, please contact Jennifer Wilson at 608-728-6049. This inquiry call will provide you the opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about our program.
- Complete the required 6 hour Foster Parent Pre-placement Training. The format of this training has temporarily changed due to the current Covid 19 recommendations. The first portion of the training is completed online. The link will be provided to you after the initial inquiry call. Once the completion of this is verified, there will be a virtual video follow up meeting to discuss any questions that you have. (Meeting dates will be pre-scheduled as a group when possible).
- Complete the foster care pre-screening licensing packet provided at the completion of the Pre-Placement Training. Background checks and references will be sent out at this time.
- Meet with the licensing worker to complete additional paperwork and a foster family assessment. There will be approximately 3-6 interviews needed in order to gather the necessary information to determine eligibility.
- Applicants have the opportunity to read and then sign the completed home study before their license is finalized.
Current Foster Parent
- Abuse or Neglect Allegations Brochure [pdf]
- HealthCheck Forms
- Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
- Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center
- Model Wisconsin Foster Parent Handbook [pdf]
Contact a CPS worker for more information
Out of State Medical
Foster parents sometimes take their foster children out of Wisconsin, whether they are going shopping in Rockford for a day, or traveling farther on vacation. If you do take a foster child out-of-state, what should you do if the child requires medical care while in another state?
Under Wisconsin's Medical Assistance program, each doctor (medical provider) is assigned a "provider number". This is a very big system, and they have to have some way of keeping track of things.
Most of the providers are in Wisconsin and already have their provider number; but providers in other states probably will not have a Wisconsin provider number. You need to take along a form that the out-of-state medical provider would have to fill out so they could be assigned a provider number. Then, when they have their provider number, our Wisconsin Medical Assistance system can pay them.
It's a good idea to keep a few of these forms in your glove compartment or suitcase.
Rock County Human Services has services that are intended to help the older teenage foster youth become better prepared to live independently. There is a requirement that each foster youth age 14 and older must be assessed to determine whether he/she has the skills and knowledge needed to live independently after leaving foster care.
Foster parents are expected to assist the youth in developing some of the skills, such as doing the laundry, money management, meal preparation, and responsible decision making. The ILP Coordinator will complete an assessment with the youth and foster parents and offer ideas and services to supplement those skills being learned in the care provider's home or facility.
For more information, contact the Independent Living Coordinator:
Substitute Care Specialist
Rock County Human Services Department
3530 N. Cty. Trk. Hwy. F
P.O. Box 1649
Janesville, WI 53547-1649
Respite care is a method of providing a break for those in a caretaking role. Using respite is temporary. Respite could be utilized by foster parents when they need some time away. In this instance, one foster parent calls another foster parent to see if they are interested in providing care for the children while they are away. The two homes work out an agreement regarding pick up and drop off times as well as the length of stay.
Respite care can also be utilized by caregivers who are not licensed foster parents. This may include caregivers who have children in their care under a Protective Plan. This type of respite care if called “Non-foster Care Respite,” and is utilized for those children who have not been placed in foster care.
If you are currently providing care for children who have open Child Protective Services cases, and are not sure if you qualify for respite services, please check with the worker assigned to the case for further clarification.
Is respite care paid for by Rock County? How much is respite care?
Foster parents who have placement of a child and need respite pay the licensed foster home who will provide the respite. Respite rates are calculated by utilizing the rate the foster parent receives for the child. When determining the rate, the amount of money reimbursed for children’s normalcy activities and daycare expenses should be subtracted from the total rate. The amount of money left should be divided by the amount of days in a month. For example, if the child’s total rate is $834, but $34 per month is reimbursed for dance fees, $25 per month is reimbursed for swim lessons, and $56 dollars is reimbursed for child care expenses, the remaining amount would be $719. This amount would be divided by the amount of days in the month. For the month of May, there is 31 days. This would calculate to be a daily rate of $23.19, which would be rounded to $23 per day. So in essence, every child’s respite rate is going to be different. If you are need of assistance in locating a foster home who can do respite for you, please contact your assigned foster care worker who can help to provide you a list of names and numbers to reach out to. In addition, when utilizing respite services, foster parents need to notify the child’s assigned case worker where the child will be during the time they are gone.
***In emergency cases, Rock County will assist foster parents with paying for respite. Examples of emergencies would include the need for respite to allow a foster family to attend a funeral or tend to a family member who has been hospitalized. This respite cannot exceed two weeks per incident.***
In the case of non-licensed providers who need respite (Non-Foster Care Respite), the county covers this fee and pays the foster home who provides this service.
What forms need to be completed?
Foster parents using respite must complete a Respite Information Form for each foster child receiving respite. The completed form along with any special items that the child needs are then provided to the respite parent. Completion of this form is necessary so that the foster home providing the respite, has as much information about the child as possible. This includes information about who the assigned worker is and how to get ahold of them. Doctor’s names and phone numbers should be included for cases of emergency. In addition, the birth parent’s contact information should also be provided to ensure regular communication between them and their child(ren) and for emergency purposes.
This same form should be utilized, when at all possible, for those utilizing Non-Foster Care Respite. The form does provide useful information about the child a foster parent will be caring for. It also contains the necessary information in cases of emergency.
Is there a need for people to become respite providers?
Yes, there is a high need! Rock County is working diligently to prevent the removal of children from their homes. Sometimes this takes creative planning. In order for workers to assure for safety in the home, Non-Foster Care Respite may be used. The people providing the Non-Foster Care Respite must be licensed as a Foster Home. We are always looking to license families who may be interested in providing this service.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed provider in order to help with respite, please reach out to Jennifer Wilson at 608-728-6049.
Foster Parent Training
Foster Parent Training
PDS Online—account set up
30 hours of training required during the first 2-year licensing period (modules 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Training Requirement: 10 hours of ongoing training required during each 12-month period of licensure following the initial 2-year licensing period.
There is a Substitute Care Resource Library with a number of books and videotapes that foster parents can borrow. Foster parents then complete the applicable form, and turn the form in to their assigned Substitute Care Specialist for review.
It is also possible for foster parents to receive training credit if they attend a Class/Workshop and then complete one of our class/workshop reports. Turn the report into your assigned Substitute Care Specialist.
FAQs about Foster Care
Review this link: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/fostercare/faq
I envision a column to the left of the main Foster Care Page with the title of Videos.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USh2ORBgi3o Will I be treated differently?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqTrgxwFKxA Why did you choose to become a foster parent?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQY6-wVro6w Why foster?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOeQUwdAjE0 Removed Video 1 (Remember my Story)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1fGmEa6WnY Removed Video 2 (Remember my Story 2)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fegRjSgRYXk Removed Video 3 (Love is never wasted)