La Crosse County Human Service Department maintains a Permanency Resource Unit whose primary function is to recruit, license, supervise and support general foster parents and relative caregivers. The unit consists of six full time social workers. One social worker is responsible for licensing new general or non-relative homes, two social workers provide ongoing support and assistance to the general foster parents, and three social workers focus on searching for, assessing and supporting licensed relative caregivers. There are also three support staff in the Permanency Resource Unit.
Respite Care is meant to provide a “break” or “rest” for the primary caregivers of the foster children that are currently residing in their home. Foster parenting can be exhausting and can place stress upon members of the family. This increase in stress is especially true when the children living in the home exhibit significant behavioral and emotional needs and/or have significant physical care needs. The respite that is used by the foster family is intended to relieve stress and prevent “burnout” and thereby reduce the chance of a disruption in the child’s placement. Appropriate use of respite services are an important part of the treatment for the children in foster care because prevention of disruption also prevents further trauma to the child.
Respite care is offered to La Crosse County foster homes that are currently caring for foster children. The base rate is a maximum of twelve days per calendar year and these days are accrued each month. Foster children that are in care for more than 30 days will be assessed for a level of care rating. If the child’s behavioral, emotional or physical care needs warrant a supplemental/exceptional rating, this rating will determine how many additional days of respite the foster family will receive per calendar year for the identified foster child.
This handbook, created by the Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center, is a model handbook for Wisconsin foster parents. It is intended to give basic information about foster care in Wisconsin to newly-licensed foster parents and to serve as a refresher for experienced foster parents. In it, foster parents will find an overview of the foster care program, information about what is expected of foster parents, a discussion about the care of children in foster care, and explanation of the critical need to work cooperatively with birth families, and an emphasis on the importance of foster family self care. This handbook also provides additional tools and resource lists if foster parents want to learn more about a specific topic.
Clicking here will take you to the Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center website where you can view the handbook.