From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: We hope you’ll join us to celebrate Idaho’s kinship families

August 12, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

Kinship care is when relatives or important adults in the lives of children take on the responsibility of parenting when the child’s parents are not able to take care of them. We are celebrating Idaho’s kinship families in September during National Kinship Care Month and every month.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 4 percent of all children across the nation – more than 2.6 million children – are in kinship care. In 2020 in Idaho, 10,819 grandparents were caring for their grandchildren younger than 18 years old. This does not count for the thousands of children living with relatives informally. 

Most kinship caregivers are not receiving resources and supports they are eligible for. Many are unaware that such help even exists. The challenges in these families can feel huge, but the stories they tell touch my heart.

DHW will be hosting Idaho Kinship Family Day to celebrate families caring for relative children and family friends who have agreed to care for children who aren’t their relatives from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 10in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Coeur d’Alene. I invite you to join us for the celebration. Please RSVP at Idaho Kinship Family Day Celebration.

My Family. My Story. entries are due Aug. 21

DHW also organizes the annual My Family. My Story. art and expression series, which is a chance for children and caregivers in kinship families to talk about their families in their own words and with art that often includes drawings, paintings, and even sewing projects. The series includes our community partners who work alongside kinship families as they navigate the challenges of kinship care. 

Entries over the years have included everything from drawings from young children expressing what they love about their families, to stories and artwork reflecting personal growth, family dynamics, and their feelings of safety and stability. 

All participants are entered into a drawing for cash and prizes. All entries must be received or postmarked by Aug. 21. Please visit My Family. My Story. art and expression series for more information.

Please call 2-1-1 from an Idaho area code or visit 211.idaho.gov for more resources and supports, Idaho Kinship Family Day, and My Family. My Story.

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 healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.