University of Wisconsin–Madison

Recommended Training

The Foster Care Coordinator plays a unique role in child welfare. You will wear many hats in this position and be responsible for some or all of the following: screening and assessing foster parents for licensure, managing compliance of administrative code, recruitment, retention and training of foster parents and placement support and consultation. We are here to support your efforts by providing you with quality learning opportunities to assist in your professional development and thereby benefiting the families you will be serving.

Just as your role in the child welfare system is unique, so is your access to training opportunities and resources to support your ongoing professional development. The WCWPDS is a part of the training collaborative to offer Foster Care Coordinators an array of training topics and professional support. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) partners with WCWPDS to provide caseworker and Foster Care Coordinator training. The WCWPDS subcontracts with the Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership (MCWP) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to offer statewide training to foster parents. Finally, we collaborate with The Coalition for Children and Families to offer special skills and topics training to Foster Care Coordinators.

In addition to the required “SAFE Structured Analysis Family Evaluation Training” for new licensors, the following learning opportunities offered through WCWPDS are recommended to support the many responsibilities of the Foster Care Coordinator role.

Face to Face Courses

  • Engaging to Build Trusting Relationships (2 days)

    Building a professional relationship with prospective and licensed foster parents is an essential part of your role as the Foster Care Coordinator. This two-day training will provide you with an opportunity to enhance your relationship skills to build trust and engage with your families. These skills will improve your ability to gather information from families while using the SAFE home study tool.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • Supporting Change Through Engagement (2 days)

    As you monitor foster parent compliance with Ch. DCF 56, you will need to have the skills and confidence to have critical conversations with them about their behaviors or decision-making. In the Supporting Change through Engagement training, you will learn techniques to have difficult conversations to create movement towards change.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • Placement (2 days)

    At times, Foster Care Coordinators act as a mediator between the child welfare team members by offering foster parent support and placement consultation. You may find yourself interpreting child welfare procedures and policies to help foster parents understand the rationale behind decisions. Vice versa, you will have discussions with caseworkers about foster family’s needs and strengths. The Placement training will introduce the experience of placing a child, the factors that must be taken into account when making a placement and review techniques to prepare children, parents and caregivers for placement.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • Trauma Informed Practice (2 days)

    A significant majority of children and adults who become involved in our child welfare systems have been affected by trauma. Trauma can have a lasting impact on the well-being and functioning of children, adults and their families. For you, the ability to understand the effects of trauma on children, adults and families and to identify and address the specific trauma related needs is critical when screening potential foster parents and supporting them as they care for children affected by trauma.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • Case Practice with American Indian Tribes (2 days)

    This training presents the reason and legislative intent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as the process for workers to follow in complying with ICWA in Wisconsin. Participants will learn to facilitate the implementation of ICWA. They will learn to identify and access resources needed to implement the law. Participants will learn about Indian cultures and how to work effectively with American Indian families. They will learn to work collaboratively with tribal partners and offer culturally specific services to American Indian families.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • In the Best Interest of the Child: Making the Most of Family Interaction (2 days)

    Family Interaction between children in out-of-home care and their parents is essential to achieving permanency and improving outcomes for families. Yet, it can be an emotionally raw and vulnerable experience for children, parents and foster parents. This training will help coach and support foster parents so that they can successfully manage family interaction.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • DCF 58: Kinship Care Coordinators (1 Day)

    Some Foster Care Coordinators are also responsible for the Kinship Care program. If this applies to you, please consider taking this training. It is recommended for both new and seasoned Kinship Care program staff. The focus is on DCF 58 Policy, eligibility of caregivers and children, appeal & review rights, waitlist, and the annual assessment. Contract allocation & determination, KCTS, documentation requirements is reviewed. What makes this course invaluable is the face-to-face format which encourages sharing of information it offers all attendees.

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

Web-based Courses

  • Foster Parent Pre-Placement

    This training can be accessed on the Foster Parent Pre-Placement training page.

  • Permanence and Placement (Case Worker) Pre-Service

    In order to provide placement support and consultation, you must have a working knowledge of the importance of permanency for children in the child welfare system. The Permanence Pre-Service module will introduce you to what the child welfare system has learned about a child’s need for a permanent home and the consequences when that home is not a reality. This training will introduce and discuss permanency planning considerations important for planning family re-unification, adoption or foster care and strategies for concurrent planning

    This training can be accessed in PDS Online.

  • Confirming Safe Environments

    Part of the child welfare responsibility assumed when placing a child in out-of-home care is to assure that the placement is safe for this child at this point in time. Child Protective Services, Child Welfare, and Juvenile Justice workers are required to complete Confirming Safe Environments (CSE) training to address that responsibility.

    As the Foster Care Coordinator, you may or may not be responsible for this function. You should consult with your supervisor. However, it is recommended that you complete this training to gain an understanding of the tool because foster parents are subject to the assessment.

    This training can be accessed through our website and PDS Online.

  • Child and Adolescent Needs & Strengths Tool Training & Certification Exam

    The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool is an assessment strategy designed for decision support and outcomes management. Its primary purpose is to allow a system to remain focused on the shared vision of serving children and families, by representing children at all levels of the system.

    All children in out-of-home care will have a CANS assessment completed. This assessment tool reviews overall functioning, wellbeing, needs and strengths of the child and current caregiver. Children will be matched with caregivers based on their level of need and the foster parent level of care. The CANS assessment is used in rate setting to determine the supplemental points.

    This training can be accessed through our website or in PDS Online.

  • Understanding Child Sex Trafficking in Wisconsin

    This training can be accessed on the Understanding Child Sex Trafficking in Wisconsin training page.

  • Subsidized Guardianship

    Subsidized Guardianship is a permanent placement option for children placed in foster care. Subsidized Guardianship is a positive option when adoption and reunification are not the best choices. Eligible caregivers, including foster parents, can become the legal guardian and receive a subsidy. Guardians are able to consent for the child’s every day events.

    This training offers the Foster Care Coordinator a review of eligibility and the child welfare agency responsibly to establishing a Subsidized Guardianship. This training will prepare you to provide consultation and support to foster parents going through this process.

    This training can be accessed through our website or in PDS Online.

  • Independent Living: Building the Path to Independence

    Although this training is intended for foster parents, it provides the new Foster Care Coordinator an understanding of life skills, and the importance of these skills for children in out-of-home care. You will be able to support foster parents while they teach children, of any age, skills that build a path toward independence.

    This training can be accessed through our website or in PDS Online.

  • Keeping Kids Safe from Identity Theft

    *In development, stay tuned

Additional Training and Professional Development Resources

  • Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center

    The Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center offers training on specific foster care topics and licensing. Course topics include education advocacy, improving the experience for children in out-of-home care and licensing topics such as rehabilitative review, and background checks. A list of their upcoming and archived trainings is found by clicking on this link.

  • Recruitment and Retention Training

    The Coalition for Children and Families operates the Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (FCARC), which is an information hub with resources for new and current foster families. They have wonderful resources and training to support your recruitment and retention efforts in your community. You are encouraged to contact the Resource Specialist to learn more about what they can offer you.

    Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center

  • Regional Foster Care Coordinator Meetings

    Many Foster Care Coordinators have other child welfare duties in addition to licensing and supporting foster parents.  On the other hand, you may be the only person in the agency responsible for licensing and supporting foster parents.  DCF recognizes the need for additional professional consultation.  The Bureau of Regional Operations (BRO) organizes the Regional Foster Care Coordinator meeting, which you are highly encouraged to attend.  Contact the Child Welfare Coordinator for your region to learn about the next meeting by following this link.