From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Idaho to expand services for struggling families and keep children out of foster care 

March 10, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Every child should grow up happy and healthy in a safe, loving home.  Child and Family Services in the Department of Health and Welfare is committed to making sure children in Idaho who are at risk of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment are safe and supported.  

We believe the best approach to support and protect children is to strengthen their families so they can remain safely in their homes.   

The federal government agrees. The Family First Prevention Services Act allows funding for services to families whose children may be at risk of entering foster care. The act allows states with an approved prevention plan to use federal funding for evidence-based services to prevent removal of children when their families need help with: 

  • Mental health services 
  • Substance use treatment  
  • In-home parenting skills training 

Idaho recently received notice from the U.S. Children’s Bureau that our Five-Year Prevention Plan has been approved. This means we can use federal funding to provide services to families that have a child or children identified as candidates for foster care.  

It’s great news for families in Idaho who are struggling.  

Selected services and programs will help keep children with their parents or legal caretakers when it is safe to do so, while addressing the safety and risk issues they face. These services are: 

  • Parent Child Interaction Therapy  
  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy  
  • Familias Unidas  
  • Motivational Interviewing  
  • Homebuilders  
  • Nurse Family Partnership  
  • Parents as Teachers 

Many of these services are not currently offered in Idaho. Over the next several months, Child and Family Services will provide information sessions statewide for organizations to learn more about the services needed to support families in their communities.  For more information or to be included on the mailing list for this information, email

While Child and Family Services has always worked to support families to safely care for their children in their homes, the ability to use federal funding for prevention services will provide greater access and support to families as they work to address issues and keep their children at home instead of in foster care.  

Read the full Prevention Plan at 

It’s National Social Work Month – thank social workers and their allies today!  

I wanted to take a moment to honor all the social workers and their allies who dedicate their professional lives to making life better for others, in DHW and throughout Idaho. These helping professionals work everywhere — hospitals, mental health care facilities, child welfare agencies, schools, veteran centers, and in local, state, and federal government. 

They touch so many parts of our lives and do work that can be extremely rewarding even as it’s also extremely challenging. If you know a social worker or someone who is an ally, please thank them for their service and commitment to helping others.  

I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend!   

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at  

Join the Discussion

Please note the following terms of participation in commenting on the DHW Voice blog.

To ensure a productive discussion you agree to post only comments directly related to this post and to refrain from posting obscenities; threatening, abusive or discriminatory language; sexually explicit material; and other material that would violate the law if published here; promotional content; or private information such as phone numbers or addresses. DHW reserves the right to screen and remove inappropriate comments.