Foster Home Placements Plummet in Racine County

Oct. 13, 2021 3:25p

(WGTD)---There’s been a dramatic drop in the number of foster home placements in Racine County.

 It’s been fueled by the notion that recruiting the once-constantly growing number of foster parents that the county needed was a process that wasn’t sustainable. Also…new evidence showed that removing kids from their families—even for the best of reasons—was more traumatic than once believed.

Steve Bedwell, Youth and Family Services Division Manager for Racine County, says new strategies that were put in place cut by more than half the number of foster family placements. “Whatever is posing an unsafe condition, we look at how we can control that,” Bedwell said.

That may mean daily home visits for months at a time. Or teaching parenting skills in the home. Transportation can be arranged to allow children—and even parents—to meet commitments.

At the beginning of 2018, the county had 350 kids in foster homes, Bedwell said in a WGTD News interview. At the beginning of this month, that number was down to 137. Back in 2018, achieving such a low number would’ve been unthinkable, he said. 

Racine County is starting to become a model for the rest of the state, according to Bedwell. 

Bedwell said he’d like to grow the program by coming up with strategies designed to short foster home stays.

Bedwell emphasizes there's still a need for more people that are willing to serve as foster parents.