From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Navigation team helps Idahoans in need

August 18, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

You’ve probably heard it said that prevention is the best medicine, and that’s the core purpose behind a DHW program that some of you may not know about. It’s called the Resource and Service Navigation Program, and its goal is to help divert families from needing to rely on longer-term department programs, including Child Welfare and benefits.

I had the great fortune during my summer job shadowing this year to sit with several of DHW’s navigators, who taught me more about their day-to-day work and displayed the kind of care, support, and empathy that makes a difference for Idahoans.

The 28-person Navigation Program team, including 22 navigators, covers every region in Idaho. It serves individuals, children, and families who may benefit from one-on-one assistance to develop a service plan to meet their goals for stability, self-sufficiency, health and safety. The program is entirely voluntary for participants.

Here are some more specifics about what the Navigation Program does:

  • It identifies and develops resources and support services.
  • It partners with families to develop customized service plans that focus on family strengths and community supports.
  • It provides support to families in need so that children can be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives.
  • It works collaboratively with other programs and agencies.
  • It supports needs around obtaining and maintaining employment.

The Navigation team has internal funding that can be used when all criteria is met and can assist families with meeting needs that include rent, deposits, utilities, car repairs, training and uniforms for jobs, licensure fees, and supports for kinship caregivers and the children for whom they’re caring.

The majority of the Navigation team’s referrals come through the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine. The Navigation Program also has referral forms that are used by department programs and community partners that are sent directly to Navigation. Individuals and families can refer themselves by calling 2-1-1.

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 

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