MADISON — While efforts at
streamlining Wisconsin's foster care system are headed
in the right direction, there's more work to be done,
according to a report by the state's foster care task
The Speaker's Task Force
On Foster Care issued its final report Thursday,
Wisconsin Public Radio reported . Assembly Speaker Robin
Vos assembled the task force last year to find issues
within the system and recommend potential changes.
The state should provide
children more education and career training, said
Republican Rep. Patrick Snyder, of Schofield, who
co-chaired the task force. Individuals who go through
the system without being adopted or reunited with
parents are more likely to become incarcerated, homeless
or unemployed, he said.
"So we have to
intercept this group and work with them to be able to
find out what career goal they have, and assure them
that they are integral parts of our state and we want
them to be as successful as they can," Snyder said.
The report also
recommends a focus on drug abuse.
The task force has
recommended 13 bills aimed at streamlining the foster
care system and helping families before they go into the
system. Gov. Scott Walker has signed 11 bills into law.
The bills give foster
parents more access to increased funding for a wider
range of needs, said Democratic Steve Doyle, of
Onalaska, who also co-chaired the task force.
"Things like signing
them up for activity fees, summer rec programs, or
backpacks for school," Doyle said. "Things
that are above and beyond what you would normally pay
for as a foster parent."
One measure allows foster
parents to get information about a child's mental health
treatment records without consent from the child or
biological parent. Lawmakers said the change will allow
foster parents to help with treatment.