#LocalGovMatters – Child Welfare in Wisconsin

This week on #LocalGovMatters Gwyn is joined by Kristin Korpela, the Director of Dunn County Department of Human Services. The two discuss child welfare, the increased need for child services because of the meth and opioid crisis, and what it takes to be a foster parent in Wisconsin.

Kristin begins the podcast with talking about what child services are provided at the county level.  She explains when the county gets involved in helping children in need, who must report suspected child abuse or neglect, and what the process is for helping children in need.  Kristin explains that the need for foster parents and child welfare services in her county have almost doubled over recent years, and she attributes a lot of that to the meth and opioid, although more meth in her area at this time.  Kristin says funding for child welfare services has not kept pace with the need for child welfare services in her community.

Kristin explains what it takes to become a foster parent in Wisconsin.  There is a licensing process and a course that needs to be completed.  Kristin emphasizes that there are many levels of foster help – respite, emergency, and long-term.  Kristin also discusses the need to understand Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed care in helping these children move out of their circumstances and forward in life. Here’s the link to the DCF Foster Care Training Requirements.