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posted on June 14, 2011 07:30

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              Date:  June 13, 2011                                                     

Contact:  Emily Simnitt
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0693

Idaho begins early childhood home visiting program 

Some of Idaho’s most expensive social problems are rooted in early childhood. Helping families provide healthy, stable home environments during the critical years of a child’s development increases that child’s health and success later in life.

Increasingly, states are focusing on proven prevention strategies to help families who may be struggling. One of the most effective programs is an early childhood home visiting program in which trained professionals visit homes and provide coaching, education and information to support families.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is implementing an evidence-based home visiting program that matches parents with trained professionals during or after pregnancy and throughout their child’s first years. By empowering parents to support their children and encourage self-sufficiency, families and society reap the benefits: children are healthier, safer, better prepared to learn and more likely to become successful adults.

The Idaho home visiting program is being planned for Kootenai, Shoshone, Jerome and Twin Falls Counties. These counties were chosen based on a needs assessment that considered a number of issues such as: premature birth, infant mortality; poverty; rates of high-school dropouts; substance abuse and other factors affecting child development.

Agencies with the capacity to implement evidence-based home visiting programs in these communities will be eligible to apply for funding this summer. Community forums will be held to discuss the program and are open to community members.  The forums scheduled to take place are:

  • Kootenai/Shoshone Counties on Monday, June 20th:
    • 11:00 am – 1:30 pm at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library in Coeur d’Alene
    • 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm at the Kellogg Middle School in Kellogg
  • Twin Falls/Jerome Counties on Monday, June 27th:
    • 10:00 am – 12:30 pm at the KMVT Community Room in Twin Falls
    • 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm at the Jerome Public Library in Jerome

The public and interested agencies are encouraged to attend these free forums.

Please visit for updates on the meeting locations or send an inquiry to the DHW home visiting program manager Laura DeBoer.