Licensing Process

Information Folder

An informational folder includes general information related to foster care, the licensing process, and working with birth families and our agency. To obtain a folder, contact Jill Holzhausen at (920) 236-4646, or e-mail

Application Packet

After you have reviewed the information and would like to take the next step, please contact the Placement Resource Supervisor at (920) 236-4658 for a brief phone conversation and to receive an application packet. The packet consists of the following forms, which must be filled out in their entirety and returned to Winnebago County Department of Human Services for review before a foster care coordinator is assigned. Once the completed application packet has been received it may take 60 days or longer to finish the licensing process. 

  • Foster Parent Application
  • SAFE Questionnaire I
  • Auto Insurance Verification
  • Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance Verification

Background & Reference Checks

A background check will be conducted by the agency and includes: national fingerprint check with FBI, State of Wisconsin Caregiver background check, domestic violence history, child protective services history, juvenile delinquency history, and Department of Motor Vehicle license verification.

Home Study

Your assigned foster care coordinator who is also a social worker from the Placement Resource Team will be assigned to conduct a series of interviews to gather information and complete an assessment. The assessment process will help us get to know you and your family and will assist in identifying your strengths and matching children to your home. Through home and office visits you will also learn more about our agency and children in need of placement.

The home study, also known as a SAFE Study, consists of several hours of face-to-face contact with each parent and some additional time with each child in the family.  The assessment tool is comprised of several categories: History, Adult Functioning, Marital/Domestic Partner relationships, Birthparent and foster child Viewpoints, Family Relationships, Physical/Social Environment, General Parenting, Preparation for Fostering, Commitment and Family Resources. Each category has subheadings that are individually rated.  The assessment also includes a social history component and other demographic information about the home and household. Based on the results of the assessment, the Foster Care Coordinator will make final recommendations about licensure as well as a support plan outlining any remaining items that need to be met by the family prior to licensure.


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Issuance or Denial of License

A State of Wisconsin Foster Care License will be issued when all licensing requirements have been met.  The license will indicate the number, sex and age range of the child(ren) for whom you may provide care.  The license is in effect up to two years and may be renewed upon successful completion of re-licensing requirements. If a license is denied, the applicants have the right to appeal the decision to the State (for more information on this, see DCF 56.10).  A record is kept of all persons who apply for a license including those who were denied a license or voluntarily chose not to complete the process.  This information is accessible by all county social workers in the State of Wisconsin.