2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 48. Children's code.
48.627 Foster parent insurance and liability.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 48.627 (2017)

48.627 Foster parent insurance and liability.

(2)

(a) Before the department, a county department, or a licensed child welfare agency may issue, renew, or continue a foster home license, the licensing agency shall require the applicant to furnish proof satisfactory to the licensing agency that he or she has homeowner's or renter's liability insurance that provides coverage for negligent acts or omissions by children placed in a foster home that result in bodily injury or property damage to 3rd parties.

(b) A licensing agency may, in accordance with rules promulgated by the department, waive the requirement under par. (a) if the applicant shows that he or she is unable to obtain the required insurance, that he or she has had a homeowner's or renter's liability insurance policy canceled or that payment of the premium for the required insurance would cause undue financial hardship.

(c) The department shall conduct a study to determine the cost-effectiveness of purchasing insurance to provide standard homeowner's or renter's liability insurance coverage for applicants who are granted a waiver under par. (b). If the department determines that it would be cost-effective to purchase such insurance, it may purchase the insurance from the appropriations under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) and (pd).

(d) The licensing agency shall specify the amounts of liability insurance coverage required under par. (a).

(2c) The department shall determine the cost-effectiveness of purchasing private insurance that would provide coverage to foster parents for acts or omissions by or affecting a child who is placed in a foster home. If this private insurance is cost-effective and available, the department shall purchase the insurance from the appropriations under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) and (pd). If the insurance is unavailable, payment of claims for acts or omissions by or affecting a child who is placed in a foster home shall be in accordance with subs. (2m) to (3).

(2m) Within the limits of the appropriations under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) and (pd), the department shall pay claims to the extent not covered by any other insurance and subject to the limitations specified in sub. (3), for bodily injury or property damage sustained by a licensed foster parent or a member of the foster parent's family as a result of the act of a child in the foster parent's care or as a result of an act or omission of the foster parent in granting permission for a child in the foster parent's care to participate in an age or developmentally appropriate activity.

(2s) Within the limits of the appropriations under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) and (pd), the department may pay claims to the extent not covered by any other insurance and subject to the limitations specified in sub. (3), for all of the following:

(a) Acts or omissions of the foster parent that result in bodily injury to the child who is placed in the foster home or that form the basis for a civil action for damages by the foster child's parent against the foster parent.

(am) Acts or omission of the foster parent in granting permission for a child who is placed in the foster home to participate in an age or developmentally appropriate activity.

(b) Bodily injury or property damage caused by an act or omission of a child who is placed in the foster parent's care for which the foster parent becomes legally liable.

(3)

(b) A claim under sub. (2m) shall be submitted to the department within 90 days after the bodily injury or property damage occurs. A claim under sub. (2s) shall be submitted to the department within 90 days after a foster parent learns that a legal action has been commenced against that parent. No claim may be paid under this subsection unless it is submitted within the time limits specified in this paragraph.

(c) The department shall review and approve in whole or in part or disapprove all claims received under this subsection during each 3-month period beginning with the period from July 1, 1985, to September 30, 1985.

(d) No claim may be approved in an amount exceeding the total amount available for paying claims under this subsection in the fiscal year during which the claim is submitted. No claim for property damage sustained by a foster parent or a member of a foster parent's family may be approved in an amount exceeding $250,000.

(e) The department may not approve a claim unless the foster parent submits with the claim evidence that is satisfactory to the department of the cause and value of the claim and evidence that insurance coverage is unavailable or inadequate to cover the claim. If insurance is available but inadequate, the department may approve a claim only for the amount of the value of the claim that the department determines is in excess of the amount covered by insurance.

(f) If the total amount of the claims approved during any calendar quarter exceeds 25 percent of the total funds available during the fiscal year for purposes of this subsection plus any unencumbered funds remaining from the previous quarter, the department shall prorate the available funds among the claimants with approved claims. The department shall also prorate any unencumbered funds remaining in the appropriation under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) at the end of each fiscal year among the claimants whose claims were prorated during the fiscal year. Payment of a prorated amount from unencumbered funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year constitutes a complete payment of the claim for purposes of this program, but does not prohibit a foster parent from submitting a claim under s. 16.007 for the unpaid portion.

(g) A claimant whose claim is denied or whose payment is prorated is not entitled to a hearing under ch. 227 on the issue of the denial or proration.

(h) If a claim by a foster parent or a member of the foster parent's family is approved, the department shall deduct from the amount approved $100 less any amount deducted by an insurance company from a payment for the same claim, except that a foster parent and his or her family are subject to only one deductible for all claims filed in a fiscal year.

(i) The department may enter into a contract for the administration of this subsection.

(4) Except as provided in s. 895.485, the department is not liable for any act or omission by or affecting a child who is placed in a foster home, but shall, as provided in this section, pay claims described under sub. (2m) and may pay claims described under sub. (2s) or may purchase insurance to cover such claims as provided for under sub. (2c), within the limits of the appropriations under s. 20.437 (1) (cf) and (pd).

(5) The attorney general may represent a foster or family-operated group home parent in any civil action arising out of an act or omission of the foster or family-operated group home parent while acting in his or her capacity as a foster or family-operated group home parent.

History: 1979 c. 221; 1981 c. 20; 1983 a. 27; 1985 a. 24, 29, 106, 154, 332, 336; 1987 a. 27, 377; 1989 a. 31; 1993 a. 446; 1995 a. 27; 1997 a. 27; 2001 a. 16; 2007 a. 20; 2009 a. 28; 2015 a. 128.

Foster parents are not agents of the county for purposes of tort liability. Kara B. v. Dane County, 198 Wis. 2d 24, 542 N.W.2d 777 (Ct. App. 1995), 94-1081.

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