From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Join me in honoring Idaho’s kinship families this summer

August 4, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Kinship care refers to a heartwarming practice where relatives or significant adults in children’s lives step up to take on the role of parents when a child’s biological parents are unable to care for them.

This profound act of love and responsibility plays a vital role in providing a stable and nurturing environment for children. While we recognize the importance of kinship caregivers every month, we have some special celebrations planned in September during National Kinship Care Month.

Recent data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that one in 11 children lives in kinship care at some point before turning 18. Across the nation, 3% of all kids—more than 2.5 million children—are currently in kinship care. In 2021 in Idaho, 11,418 grandparents were responsible for their grandchildren younger than 18 years old. And this doesn’t include the countless children living informally with other relatives.

Despite the significant number of kinship caregivers, many are unaware of the resources and support available to them. These families face numerous challenges, but their tales of strength and devotion deeply touch our hearts.

To pay tribute to these extraordinary kinship families, DHW is organizing Idaho Kinship Family Day on Sept. 9 in Boise, Pocatello, and Coeur d’Alene. We invite you to join us for the celebration that will include food, fun, games, and information on resources and supports. Please RSVP at Idaho Kinship Family Day Celebration.

My Family. My Story. Entries due Aug. 18

Another way DHW is celebrating Idaho’s kinship families is through the annual My Family. My Story. art and expression series, which provides children and caregivers in kinship families with a platform to share their experiences in their own words through various artforms like drawings, paintings, and sewing projects.

This series showcases the creativity and emotional expressions of these families as they navigate the challenges that come with kinship care. Participants in this expressive journey have shared heartwarming drawings and stories depicting their love for their families, reflections on personal growth, insights into family dynamics, and feelings of safety and stability.

The series also includes a specific category for our community partners who work alongside kinship families as they navigate the challenges of kinship care.

All participants are entered into a drawing for cash and prizes. All entries must be received or postmarked by Aug. 18. Please visit My Family. My Story. art and expression series for more information.

Please call 2-1-1 or visit for more resources and supports, and information about Idaho Kindship Family Day and My Family. My Story.

Let’s come together this summer to honor and celebrate the kinship families of Idaho, who embody the essence of love, selflessness, and care. Their stories inspire us all, and it’s our privilege to support and recognize their commitment to the well-being of the children they hold dear.

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.