From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: We are committed to protecting children in our communities

March 31, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and it is the perfect time to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. 

Reporting child abuse, neglect or abandonment

In Idaho, the Child Protective Act requires that everyone report suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment. This includes doctors, hospitals, residents, therapists, interns, nurses, coroners, school teachers, daycare providers, social workers, relatives, friends, and private citizens. The only exception, in certain situations, for mandatory reporting is for a “duly ordained minister of religion.” Those reporting can remain anonymous if they choose.

Neglect is the most common report made to child protection in Idaho. This occurs when children are not getting the care and protection they need. Overall, neglect means the child: 

  • Is young and left alone
  • Lives in a house where severe health or safety hazards are present
  • Has nothing to eat and appears hungry and underweight

In Idaho statute, the legal definition of "neglected" child can be found at

Child welfare assessment

When there is a report of possible abuse, neglect, or abandonment, an assessment of the child and situation is the first step. The assessment is to determine if the child is safe and to determine if child abuse, neglect, or abandonment did occur.

An assessment includes:

  • Interviewing the children and caregivers in the home
  • Gathering additional information through interviews with people who know the family and/or who can provide specific information related to the report

When gathering information, the child welfare social worker looks at the following:

  • Extent of maltreatment
  • Nature of maltreatment
  • Adult functioning (Do adults have employment, stable housing, criminal history, substance use disorders, etc. )
  • Parenting practices
  • Discipline practice
  • Child functioning (Is the child at a normal level of development for their age; do they have  medical or mental health issues; are they making educational progress)

After gathering and reviewing this information, DHW child welfare social workers gain a better understanding as to whether any maltreatment is occurring. If the assessment determines there is a concern for the safety of the children, the department will put a safety plan in place. The safety plan could be for “in home” or “out of home” and includes:

  • Who should participate in the plan
  • Safety threats
  • Actions/tasks (including responsibility and frequency) to address those safety threats

A safety plan relies on a full understanding of how threats to children operate in the family and must contain actions that will address those threats. 

As a reminder, social workers have no legal authority to remove a child from a home. That is a decision made by law enforcement officers or the court.

I would like to share an example of how this might work.

There is a child who is diagnosed with diabetes. Through the assessment, the department discovers that the diabetes is not being managed by the parents, which is leading to serious physical health risks and outcomes for the child. In this case, a safety plan might include informal support from extended family and/or friends who come into the home at meal times to make sure the parents are checking the child’s blood sugar, calculating insulin levels correctly, and are administering insulin as needed. The formal piece of the safety plan might include home health care (a nurse in the home at specific times to provide support and training to the parents and  to make sure the steps of care are being implemented correctly). 

The goal is to help the parents get to a position where the family no longer needs assistance to provide a safe home for their child.

Children do best with their families, and that is what we try to achieve. Children thrive when they are safe, nurtured, and loved.

How to report child abuse, neglect, or abandonment

In Idaho, we receive nearly 23,000 reports of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment each year. To report suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment call:

  • Statewide: 855-552-KIDS (5437)
  • Treasure Valley: 208-334-KIDS (5437)
  • 2-1-1 or local law enforcement


I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.




Steven Wallace
Add a Comment
CPS, nationally speaking, has a horrid reputation and like many institutions whose original mandate was crafted to serve the needs of children these institutions often end up serving as a huge magnet for pedophiles who abuse and groom kids for the sex trade.

I find it curious that the mandatory reporting law exempts elements of the clergy who receive confessions. The priesthood and pedophilia have become inseparable in the minds of most thinking adults. A priest receiving an actual confession from a pedophile is exempt from this law while everyone else is legally on the hook for the slightest behavioral quirk that they, in their opinion, observe in others. In the first instance, an actual confession of sexual abuse of a child is ignored while, in the second instance, a mere opinion has the potential to be elevated to intervention status with little regard for the negative impact the intervention will undoubtedly cause to the child and the family.

I'm assuming the ultimate purpose and intent of the mandatory reporting law is to provide relief to a child that is being abused or neglected. If I'm suspicious that making such a report will result in more harm coming to the child at the hands of the CPS/foster care system than the harm I suspect is taking place at the hands of the child's parents, making such a report would be reprehensible, morally wrong, and inhumane.

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Okay so answer me this…I have reported neglect of a child in my family for 6 years…mom has been on probation for same and fell off the wagon one month after she completed probation…still this child is with her abuser…what court does this family court with CPS…so explain please CPS