Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Department of Human Services

Become a Foster Parent

Almost all children in Foster Care in Dane County need temporary placements until they can safely return home or to a relative. Dane County foster parents care for children who cannot remain with birth families for a variety of reasons including child maltreatment, medical issues, physical disabilities, or the emotional or physical needs of their parents.


If you...

  • have a desire to nurture a child who needs a safe place to live
  • feel called to care for children or youth who have lived through difficult experiences
  • think it is the right time to open your home to children

...consider becoming a foster parent and make a lifetime of difference.

Types of Foster Care

All Dane County Foster parents are licensed in the same manner but there are different specialties available:

  • Emergency Foster Homes
    Provide emergency placement until a long-term option is located. May last up to 30 days, but foster parents have the option to continue placement longer term.
  • Longer-Term Foster Homes
    Provide care for children and youth for at least 6 months, and work with birth parents towards reunification.
  • Concurrent Foster Homes
    Provide care for children and work with the Department and birth parents toward reunification, but will consider adoption if the courts decide return home can no longer occur.
  • Sibling Placements
    Provide care for 2 to 3 siblings in order to keep them together.
  • Child Specific Foster Care
    The child's social worker recommends licensure of someone who is not a relative and has a prior relationship with the child.
  • Emergency On-Call Foster Care
    Provide emergency care at night, on weekends, and during holidays for up to 3 children, ages 0-12 years old. Must be able to provide at least a week of care and assist with transportation needs. On-call homes are given a stipend in addition to a pro-rated foster care rate. An additional payment is provided if keeping siblings together.
  • Independent Living Skills
    Foster parents who specialize in working with teens, and can assist youth in goal setting; in addition to concrete skills such as seeking employment, cooking, and money management. Assist youth in successfully transitioning to adulthood, helping them engage in further education or vocational training.


General Requirements for becoming a Foster Parent

  • Individuals or families interested in becoming foster parents have to fulfill certain basic requirements. They have to go through the process of screening, training, and licensing.
  • The person should be 21 years or older, and all adult members of a household must be licensed unless an exception is granted. The foster parent should be mentally and physically fit to look after the child under his/her care.
  • The foster child must be provided with his own bed. Boys and girls may not share a bedroom if they are age six or older. At least a bed and space for personal storage should be available for every foster child.
  • The foster parent must have the necessary resources and ability to meet the requirements of his/her own family, and his/her home must meet certain safety standards.

Foster Parent Licensing Process

Below are the actions you must take to become a Dane County Foster Parent:

  1. Schedule a zoom information meeting.  Call Dawn Douglas at 608-334-4417 or email at
  2. Complete a foster care application packet
  3. Prescreen for eligibility, including criminal records checks, references, FBI, sex offender registry, child abuse/neglect registry screenings
  4. Complete Wisconsin Pre-placement Training for Foster Parents
  5. Complete webinar trainings specific to Transracial Parenting
  6. Meet with a licensing consultant to complete a foster family assessment
  7. Within the first licensing period, complete 30 hours of Foundation Training



Do you have more questions? Would you like to apply?

Please call 608-334-4417 or email to speak with Dawn Douglas.
Or, visit the FAQ page to have more of your questions answered.

Thank you for your interest. We hope you become a part of the change you would like to see. Become a CHANGE AGENT in the life of a child!