Foster Home Insurance Program 

To learn more about the Foster Home Insurance Program, information is provided on the following topics:

What is this Liability Insurance Program for?
This program was created by the Wisconsin Legislature to assure that foster parents are reimbursed for damages or loss the experience caused - on purpose or by accident - by children placed in their care and that are not covered by private insurance policies.

Who is Eligible?
Any foster parent licensed in the state of Wisconsin is eligible to file a claim under this program when the child is in custody of the county or state and was placed in their home at the time the damage or loss occurred. However, this program is the "insurer of last resort" and should only be used when a private insurer will not cover any damages or loss.

What kinds of damage or loss are covered?
Foster parents are required to have homeowner's or renter's insurance (unless waived by the licensing agency) that covers negligent acts committed by foster children that result in bodily injury or property loss to the foster home resident's personal property, insurance on buildings on the property, coverage on vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, ATV's, etc.

This program is designed to cover injury or damage caused by the foster child to foster parents that is not covered by private insurance policies. In some cases, private insurers will not cover damage or loss. In addition, this program may cover injury or damage caused by foster parents to the foster child or for acts by foster parents for which they are sued by the child's parent. The state Foster Parent Insurance Program does not cover third party claims, unless the foster parent is sued by the third party.

It is recommended that all valuables such as jewelry, cash, keys, antiques and vehicles be safeguarded or protected from loss or theft.

When must I file my claim?
If the damage or loss was suffered by foster parents, the claim must be filled within 90 days after the damage or loss occurs or is discovered.

If the foster child suffered the damage or loss, the claim must be filed within 90 days after the foster parents learn that a legal action has been commenced against them.

Regardless of any other circumstances (e.g., waiting to hear from private insurers, the child going to court for a possible restitution order), the foster parents should file a claim with the social worker as soon as possible after the damage or loss occurs or is discovered.  If restitution is granted by the court, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) shall be notified and restitution monies must be returned up to the amount of the paid claim.

How do I file a claim?
In order to file a claim, the foster parent should discuss the damage or loss with the agency that placed the agency, and ask the agency for a claim form (form DCF-F-CFS0116). The form must be filled out completely with as much detail as possible. The completed form, with any documentation, needs to be returned to the agency that placed the child. An IRS W-9 form, also known as Employee Identification Form, and a STAR Vendor Information Form are to be filled out by the foster parent and submitted with the DCF-F-CFS0116.

The foster care agency will complete another form (form DCF-F-CFS0117) and may request additional information and/or permission to view the damage.  The agency will then forward all of the materials to the Department of Children and Families for review.  The DCF-F-CFS2198, Foster Parent Insurance Program Checklist, will give additional information on filing the claim.  Your worker or placing agency will need to determine the IV-E federal eligibility of the child.

What information should I submit with the claim?
The more documentation you have, the better. It is recommended that you photograph, videotape, or inventory your home and contents now. If damage or loss occurs, you can then photograph the damage and submit all of the photographs for comparison. You must submit written estimates on printed business forms or letterhead for repairs or replacement costs, receipts for replacement items, written insurance company estimates of damages, police reports, fire reports, or other documentation that indicates what happened, what item is damaged or lost, and what the value of the damages or loss is. If possible, retain any damaged items until your claim has been approved. The department cannot pay claims if there is no documentation regarding the loss or damage.

You will also need to submit proof that your private insurance will not cover any of the damages or loss by sending a current copy of a letter from your insurance agent.

In addition, the Department is only able to reimburse foster parents for parts or section of a set of items.  For example, if a couch is damaged beyond repair and it is part of a set of a love seat and chairs, we are only able to reimburse for the couch that is damaged.

Is there a deductible?
The Department is required to deduct $100 for all claims submitted within the same state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30).  If your private insurer pays part of the claim and charges a deductible, $100 will be subtracted from that deductible.

If your claim is for less than $100, you should file it with your agency in case you have another claim within the same fiscal year.  For example, if you have a claim in August for $50 and another in January for $150, the $100 would be deducted from the total of both claims.

How long before I receive my claim check?
Claims are reviewed quarterly in January, April, July, and October.  It takes about six weeks from the time your claim is approved for you to receive a claim check.

If your claim is incomplete or does not include adequate documentation, the processing time will be increased.

Where can I get more information?
For additional information, contact your social worker for the child who is placed in your foster home.

For each quarter, if the total claims exceed the state budget of $15,000, plus applicable federal funds, the reimbursement will be prorated.  If any funds are left at the end of the state fiscal year, these funds will be prorated to parents not receiving full reimbursement.

Last Revised: August 07, 2015

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.