If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster parent, this short guide is for you. We’ll cover everything from how to get started to the different types of foster care certification.
Do You Qualify?
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You can’t have more than 6 children, none under 18 years of age.
- Your home must be safe and loving.
- You’ll need to complete required training with your county’s foster care agency, which includes an extensive background check and references from people who know you well (like your neighbors).
Fill Out the Application
You can apply online at CCR Wisconsin or by calling 1-800-648-3633 (1-800-637-0869 TTY). You will need to provide information about your family and your home, as well as information about your financial situation and criminal history if applicable. You must also furnish documentation that proves you are over 21 years of age and are a resident of the United States or Canada. Applications are processed in order of receipt, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible!
Read the Training Materials
- Read the materials carefully. If you find yourself confused, ask questions until you understand everything.
- A clear understanding of what is expected of you is important so that you can commit to being a foster parent without reservation.
Get a Background Check
As a foster parent, you’ll be required to get a background check. This is done through the Department of Human Services (DHS), who will send someone to your home to do the check. If you’re up front and honest with them about any past events, they should have no problem approving you as a foster family or opening their doors to your children.
The process is free and only takes about a month for most people. When it comes time for your appointment, bring documents that prove who you are: driver’s license, birth certificate or passport, social security card (or proof of an application in process), bank statement showing income over the last six months—that sort of thing. If there are kids already living with you who will be staying in their current room during visits from DHS investigators then make sure all siblings’ ages match what’s on their birth certificates too!
If this sounds overwhelming then don’t worry; just ask around at work or school for personal references; people are happy to help out when there are children involved!
Pass DHS Certification Standards
In order to become a foster parent, you must meet certain standards set forth by the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS certification standards include:
- You must be 21 years old.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED.
- You must pass the background check. The background check includes fingerprinting and criminal record review. If you were convicted of a crime in your past, this will not necessarily disqualify you from becoming a foster parent – it depends on the severity of your offense(s) and how long ago it occurred.
- You must meet other requirements for safety, stability, and resources as outlined by DHS certification standards. For example, if your home passes all safety inspections and is deemed safe for children by DHS staff members then they would consider it stable enough to house children temporarily until permanent homes can be found for them through adoption or other means such as reuniting with family members who might have been separated during their time away from their parents due to incarceration or other circumstances beyond their control; however there are many factors which go into determining whether someone qualifies so while these basic guidelines apply generally speaking there may still be exceptions depending upon individual circumstances such as where someone lives geographically since there are different laws governing different parts of country which may affect eligibility criteria even within states themselves depending upon whether state legislature has passed new laws recently allowing certain types families access services previously unavailable under previous legislation.”
Is it For You?
Foster families play an important role in the lives of children who have been removed from their homes. It can be a rewarding experience, but you need to be prepared for some challenging times as well. If this sounds like something that would interest you, then give it a try!
Learn more about foster care in Wisconsin at Community Care Resources.