For Youth

Abused or neglected? Need help?

NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Crisis Counselors are available 24/7.

If you are having problems with your foster home, talk to an adult you trust, like a teacher, principal, or case manager. If you live in Milwaukee County and need immediate assistance because you are being abused or neglected (or you know another child or teen who is), remember this number: 414-220-SAFE (220-7233). You can call the number at any time of day, and someone will answer. The Kids Matter staff is also here to help – call us at 414-344-1220. If you live in another Wisconsin county click here to find the phone number for your county.  If you live outside of Wisconsin, call the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453) to report abuse any time of day or night.

Unless you have already “aged out” of the foster care system, you have an attorney who is there to assist you with legal matters. You can ask your case manager or call the Milwaukee County Public Defender’s office (1-608-266-0087) if you are not sure who your attorney is. If you want to speak to the judge about where you are living, you can write a letter to the judge or or talk to him or her the next time you go to court. Finally, if you are having trouble dealing with some of the things that have happened to you, there are services available to help you. At Kids Matter, our Fostering Healing Program can help you obtain support services for medical, mental health, and school issues. We can also assist with medical insurance matters and legal and court proceedings. Call 414-344-1220.

To learn more about what information to provide when reporting child abuse or neglect, see Reporting Child Abuse.

As a foster youth in Wisconsin, you can expect to:

  • Live in a safe, clean, and furnished home
  • Have your own bed (with exceptions for two siblings of the same gender under 12 years of age)
  • Have a place to store your things
  • Be treated with respect by your foster parents and case managers
  • Participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, school groups, or religious groups
  • Attend religious services if you choose to
  • Receive at least three healthy meals a day
  • Receive weekly spending money
  • Have enough clothes
  • Take your personal belongings with you if you leave a foster home (personal belongings include anything you brought with you to the home, and anything that you were given to keep or that you received as a gift)
  • Go to school
  • Have quiet time to do your homework
  • Go to a doctor when you need to, and see a dentist at least once a year (twice if you are under 13)

Your foster parent or parents can discipline you when you break the rules, but they may not punish you by physically hurting you. They cannot punish you by depriving you of mail, meals, or visits with your family.

No one can treat you unfairly because of your gender, race, or sexual identity.

If you are having problems at your foster home or some of your rights are being taken away, talk to your case manager. If you feel uncomfortable bringing up the problem with your foster parent or case manager, call us (414-344-1220), and we’ll make sure someone follows up.

These rights apply to youth in group homes as well as youth in standard and treatment foster homes.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Kids Matter Inc.