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Foster Care Fast Facts

Children are placed in foster care because sometimes parents struggle with abuse, illness or death, family stress, abandonment, chemical dependency, exploitation or other issues endangering their health and/or safety. The children are of all ages and varying needs and may have been neglected or abused by caregivers or other children. Often they are filled with feelings of anger, fear, confusion and hopelessness. Being taken away from the only family one has ever known can cause fear and insecurity. Most foster children have siblings and some have developmental, physical, emotional or behavioral problems.

Foster care is considered temporary, and placements may last a few days, months, or years. Children usually continue to visit with their families until they can be reunited or a safe, stable permanent home is found. Some foster parents want to become adoptive parents and some do not. All are committed to giving the children the safety, stability, and skills they need to become successful members of our community.

On a typical day in Wisconsin, approximately 8,000 children are living with foster families.

Of the 542,000 children in foster care, 126,000 are waiting to be adopted. (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, March 2003)

50,000 children were adopted from the foster care system in 2001. (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, March 2003)

Children in the foster care system are often classified as “special needs,” for example, multi-sibling groups, children 7 years or older, children with mental, physical or social deficiencies. KHDS serves people residing in Kenosha and Racine counties.

Foster Care: Placing a child in the temporary care of a family other than its own as the result of problems or challenges that are taking place within the birth family, or while critical elements of an adoption are being completed.

Special Needs: In reality, every child, and every parent for that matter, has a very special need for love, acceptance and a feeling of belonging from the other members of its family. When used in the context of foster care or adoption, the term “special needs” children generally refers to children that traditionally have been more challenging to place in foster care or for adoption, because they are older, or have some form of physical, mental, emotional, or developmental challenge, or who are multi-ethnic or biracial children. This definition also includes children that are part of a sibling group that it is expected would do better if they were fostered or adopted together.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, please contact
Angela Martin at 262.657.7188 or

Foster Care Overview | Foster Care Fast Facts | Foster Care Frequently Asked Questions