Central Wisconsin legislator introduces foster care reform bills - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Central Wisconsin legislator introduces foster care reform bills


Thirteen bills aimed to streamline Wisconsin's Foster Care system were introduced in Madison Tuesday.

Representatives Patrick Snyder (R-Schofield) and Steven Doyle (D-Onalaska) brought the legislation forward at the Capitol.

The proposals address six components of the Foster Care system: prevention, foster children, foster parents, county support, termination of parental rights, and aging out. 

Snyder said drugs are the leading cause in the uptick in the need for foster care.

"One of the bills will set aside grant money so these organizers can intervene before these families get into the foster system," he said.

When it comes to foster parents, lawmakers want to make sure they're prepared.

"When [children are] removed from the home, it's a traumatic experience already," Snyder said. "We want to provide things for the kids and their foster families. We want to make it a stable environment for them."

Snyder said these children also need care when they age out of the foster system. 

"One in five of these kids that age out of foster care at 18 become homeless," he said. "What's even scarier is that one out of two will end up in our corrections system."

In hopes of addressing those issues, the legislation works to provide these individuals with additional tuition help.

"To alleviate any fees or any tuition that isn't covered on federal side," Snyder said.

Representatives Snyder and Doyle also want to expedite the system's legal process.

"One of those bills will be a pilot program that will actually get legal counsel to the parents at the time they have the children removed from their home," Snyder said. "So they can start that process instead of waiting down the road."

These bills were written after Reps. Snyder and Doyle traveled to six different cities in Wisconsin gathering feedback from foster communities there. 

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