The health, safety and well being of a foster child depends on the ability of the foster family to provide nurturing and supportive care and to meet the foster child's identified needs. In addition to their caregiver role, a foster parent is also expected to work cooperatively with agency staff, the child's parent(s)/guardian(s), the court, attorneys, therapists and various other involved parties. The demands placed on foster parents are great. One of the most common concerns among foster parents is that they do not feel fully prepared or equipped to face the challenges relating to their foster parent role. Winnebago County Department of Human Services recognizes that to adequately prepare a foster parent for placement of a child, the agency must provide/arrange training, both pre-service and in-service.
The Agency will offer additional training and support to all foster parents through the use of foster parent support groups, individual training sessions in the home, support services by phone and through other services as needed. Promotion of relationships with other foster parents will be emphasized to encourage sharing expertise and problem solving skills.
Winnebago County Human Service Department maintains a Resource Team Unit whose primary function is to recruit, license, supervise and support foster parents. The unit consists of four full time social workers.
This quarterly publication from the Resource Team contains articles, information about upcoming events and trainings, introductions of newly licensed homes, and much more.
Respite Care is meant to provide a “break” or “rest” for the primary caregivers of the foster children that are currently residing in their home. Foster parenting can be exhausting and can place stress upon members of the family. This increase in stress is especially true when the children living in the home exhibit significant behavioral and emotional needs and/or have significant physical care needs. The respite that is used by the foster family is intended to relieve stress and prevent “burnout” and thereby reduce the chance of a disruption in the child’s placement. Appropriate use of respite services are an important part of the treatment for the children in foster care because prevention of disruption also prevents further trauma to the child.
Respite care is offered to all Winnebago County foster homes that are currently caring for foster children. The base rate is a maximum of twelve days per calendar year and these days are accrued each month.
Foster Parent Handbook/Policy Manual
This handbook, created by the Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center, is a model handbook for Wisconsin foster parents. It is intended to give basic information about foster care in Wisconsin to newly-licensed foster parents and to serve as a refresher for experienced foster parents. In it, foster parents will find an overview of the foster care program, information about what is expected of foster parents, a discussion about the care of children in foster care, and explanation of the critical need to work cooperatively with birth families, and an emphasis on the importance of foster family self care. This handbook also provides additional tools and resource lists if foster parents want to learn more about a specific topic.
Click here to view the WI Foster Family Handbook.