Wisconsin will get about $10 million in federal funds over the next five years to help foster children as they reunite with their birth families, the state Department of Children and Families announced Friday.

The money, which comes as a result of the federal government allowing funds saved from a significant drop in foster child case loads in Milwaukee to be reinvested, will be used by counties statewide. It will go toward funding basic needs, such as housing and child care, for families who take back children from the foster care system.

The program is already used in Milwaukee County and is partly responsible for a sharp drop in the number of children in foster care, state officials said.

"The savings generated from these positive results allows us to replicate this practice in other counties," said Eloise Anderson, secretary of the Department of Children and Families. "This ongoing support will increase the likelihood the family will stay together and reduce the likelihood the child will return to foster care."

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