FAQs

Foster Parents:  
Without our Foster/Kinship/Respite Parents, this program would not work or be what it is. The Staff are very grateful for the foster care providers along with people who are contemplating being foster parents.

The Foster Care program is comprised of Foster Care, Kinship Care and Respite Care. Each of these programs involves providing a safe, stable, and caring environment for children ages 0-18 who are unable to live with their own families due to safety concerns or other family crisis. The program has a goal of reunification of all families, making a foster home a temporary place for the child to reside at.

The following links are to help with resources that may be helpful in deciding if fostering is the right path for you, along with informing others with first-hand knowledge of what being a foster parent means to them.

Why kids need you:  
There are many reasons why children are in need of foster care, such as referrals, safety concerns, victims of sexual abuse, victims of abuse and neglect, drug and alcohol abuse in the household, incarceration of parents, or mental health concerns.

Eligibility & Qualifications  
Follow Chapter DCF 56, including but not limited to:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Married or Single
  • Residence Meets State’s Space/Safety Requirements
  • Background Checks
  • Sufficient Income to Provide for Family
  • Home/Renter’s & Vehicle Insurance
  • Pets Vaccinated (some animals are prohibited)

How To Apply/What is the Process Like?

  • Contact a Worker and Request Application (Application will be mailed to you)
  • Fill Out Application and Return to Human Services Department
  • Background & Reference Checks Will Be Conducted
  • Several Home Visits Will Follow (Worker will discuss other obligations)
  • Attend Pre-Placement Training

Licensed Foster Homes  
Foster Care is a temporary living arrangement for children and youth who are unable to live with their own families due to safety concerns or other family crisis. When it is not possible for a child to remain in their home, foster homes are critical in providing children and youth with a safe and stable living environment. Foster families are instrumental in assisting the child or youth with coping with their situation and keeping them connected to their family. Foster parents are an important part of a team of people working towards= reunification or other permanency options for the children and youth in their care. Foster parents can foster children and youth ages 0-18. All families receive financial compensation for the children placed in their home, supportive services, 24 hour emergency assistance and health insurance for the children. Mandatory training is provided by the county. To learn about becoming a foster parent contact Karen Zahn at 920-683-4230.

Placement Selection  
When a child (or sibling group) comes into the system we look at which foster parents will be the best match possible. First, we look at our current list of foster parents, then we come up with a short list of options. After that, we look at the factors, along with others, listed in no particular order:

  • Are there relatives that could take the child(ren)?
  • Where does the child currently go to school?
  • Where does the child currently live (to determine how family visits will occur)?
  • How old is the child?
  • Are pets a concern?
  • Are there behaviors that need to be accounted for?
  • Will child care be needed?
  • What are the foster parents' work schedules?
  • Will this placement be an issue if there are other kids in the home?
  • What is the foster child's schedule (appointments, etc.)?
  • Are there transportation concerns?
  • Does this placement fit into what type of placement the foster parent said would work for them?
  • What homes have room or are available?

 After we take these factors into consideration we talk with the staff to get input. We then start calling the foster homes.

Required Foster Parent Training  
People seeking to become foster parents will need to complete a 6 hour Pre-Placement training before a placement can occur in their home. After licensing, foster parents are required to complete 30 hours of Foundation Training within two years of becoming foster parents. Foster parents are also required to complete 10 hours of ongoing training every year.

Reimbursement 
The program provides the uniform foster care rate reimbursement based on the age of the foster child(ren) placed in their home. Some foster homes are eligible for a supplemental rate for higher level needs. Each foster home also receives a one-time clothing allowance.

What is foster care and what types of children are in foster care? 
Foster care is a temporary alternative to a child's own home when that home becomes socially, emotionally or physically inadequate for the child's needs. Foster children range in age from infant to 18; however, the biggest need is for homes for troubled teenagers.
All foster children have unique backgrounds, experiences, personalities, strengths and needs. Some may require extensive care for physical or emotional handicaps or disabilities.
Most foster children do not have a strong sense of belonging or a strong sense of self-worth. Many of them have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, some have suffered neglect and some children and infants require extensive medical care.

How long do children stay in foster care?  
This can vary from a few days to many years. Most children stay for 2 years.

Must a foster parent accept any child the agency offers?  
No. Available information about a child is shared with you before placement so that you and the child's case manager can decide together whether the child should be placed in your home. In occasional emergency situations, very little may be known about the child at the time of placement.

Can foster parents adopt a foster child?   
Most foster children are not available for adoption. If a child does become adoptable, the foster family may apply.

Do I have to be married or own my own home?  
Single adults may apply to be foster parents and you do not have to own your own home.

What are the basic requirements to be a foster parent?  
You must be 21 years of age or older and a responsible, mature individual to become a licensed foster parent.
You will be asked to provide truthful information regarding alcohol and drug abuse and law violations that may hinder your ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment. Giving false information or withholding information can be grounds for denial of a license.

What is the process to become a licensed foster parent?  
You, your family and a licensing specialist will meet several times. For the most part, the appointments will be in your home. Orientation and training for effective parenting with emphasis on working with children with special needs may be provided. The process takes at the minimum 6 weeks – 2 months. It includes at least 3 home visits by the Foster Care Coordinator. Your home will need to pass a fire safety inspection by your local community fire department. Applicants will need to go to the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department for fingerprints.

Who pays for the care of children in foster care? 
Foster parents receive money for room, board and other living expenses from the placing agency. There are also supplemental payments for the care of children with special needs.

How are the child's medical needs paid for?   
Foster children are covered by Title XIX (medical assistance) or the insurance of their birth parents.

What sleeping arrangements should I have for a child?   
Children over one year old may not share a bedroom with an adult. Children over six years old may not share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex and each foster child must have his or her own bed.

Can I have a job and care for a foster child?  
A foster parent may work outside of the home if appropriate arrangements can be made for childcare during the absence of the foster parent(s).

Will I be involved with the child's birth parents?  
Usually children will have visits with their parents. The child's case manager will help schedule the visits and make travel arrangements. Federal requirements outline that the agency must first and foremost strive for reunification of a child to his/her family above all else. This will include visitations (supervised or unsupervised). The Manitowoc County Human Services Foster Care Program strongly encourages contact and communication between birth/adoptive parents and foster parents. Studies have shown better outcomes for children in foster care when compared to other types of placements such as: shorter placements, stability of placements and less behavioral problems of the child in placement. That being said, this is determined case by case with foremost focus on everyone’s safety and well being.

Can I take a foster child on vacation?  
Yes. If you are planning on taking a child out of state, prior approval is needed from the supervising agency.

What kind of support services are available?  
Agency staff will help you understand your foster child and find community resources to deal with any problems that arise. Special training sessions are made available and support groups are available in some communities. A 24 hour answering service is provided for emergencies. The Manitowoc County Foster Care Program uses a number of programs to support foster families with a placement. In house trainings, webinars, a resource library, membership to Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center, newsletters, this website, referrals to outside resources specializing in what you are experiencing with you foster child, foster parent support groups, and individual access to a social worker, supervisors, and the foster care coordinator are examples of services available to foster families.

What if an emergency comes up and the agency is closed or it is a weekend?  
All foster families are provided with an after hours crisis phone number. This number is staffed by social workers of Manitowoc County Human Services Department that have a number of resources available to them.

Don't feel like fostering is for you? Here are other ways to help:  

  • Respite Care
  • Volunteer Driver
  • Mentoring
  • Provide a Job
  • Donate - Wish List