What is Foster Care?
It's giving someone else's child a safe place during a difficult time. Every child needs security and nurturing in order to grow into a healthy adult. Your job as a foster parent also carries a special reward -- knowing that you're taking action to help someone who needs you very much.
What Does it Take to be a Foster Parent?
Successful foster parents have a secure family life of their own, and the support of family and friends. They work well with staff at Portage County Health and Human Services for the benefit of the child. Foster parents can be single adults, married couples with children or "empty nesters." They have personal and financial stability, an ability to work with and respect the child's natural family members and the motivation to be a positive role model or mentor to children and youth.
What If I Work?
Most of our foster parents do work. Some families are able to foster on a full-time basis in spite of working outside of the home. Others choose to foster on only a "part-time" basis by providing breaks to birth parents who are overwhelmed or who have a child with medical, physical or other special needs, or other foster parents.
How Does One Become a Foster Parent?
You begin by calling Portage County Health and Human Services Department at 715-345-5350. The Foster Care Coordinator will answer your questions, send you an information packet and inform you of upcoming foster parenting information classes. All foster parents are screened through law enforcement records checks, health screens, personal reference checks, and through a series of discussions with the agency staff. Homes also need to meet some basic safety and space requirements.
Who Pays for the Child's Medical and Other Expenses?
The agency reimburses foster parents for monthly expenses related to room, board, and other items. If a child has special needs, additional supplements are available. Foster children's medical expenses are covered through their parent's medical insurance or through Title XIX (Medical Assistance).
What Ages of Foster Children Need Care the Most?
The answer is simple and not so simple ... it's ALL AGES. What's more important is what age ranges, genders, and situations you feel most comfortable with in your home. We look for foster families or differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds, rural and city locations, and whose families come in every size and shape imaginable. This helps us to do the best job we can of matching the child's needs regarding location and family situations with the best available foster home.
Will I Have All the Information I need About a Foster Child Before They Come to My Home?
Absolutely!! The agency will share with you any and all information we have available to us on the child, their habits and preferences, and their family situation. You can then determine whether or not you're comfortable accepting them into your household. In turn, foster parents must maintain a high degree of confidentiality and not share this very sensitive information outside of their own homes.