Wisconsin task force makes recommendations for foster care

Associated Press

June 24, 2018, 2018


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 force.

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.