From DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: We work hard every day to protect children, youth, and vulnerable adults in Idaho 

March 17, 2023
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

DHW is dedicated to making sure children who have experienced abuse or neglect have safe, permanent homes. We are also focused on improving the behavioral health system for Idaho’s young people and the crisis care system for adults with developmental disabilities.  

The second goal in our Strategic Plan captures this dedication and represents some of the most challenging yet rewarding work we do at the Department of Health and Welfare. 

We’ve established three areas of focus for this goal.  

Make sure children who have experienced abuse or neglect can get preventative services, preferably in their homes.  

Children and families do much better overall when they can receive services in their homes. There are several work streams at DHW to support this.  

  • A workgroup is meeting monthly to enact a standardized preventative in-home case management structure in each region of the state.  
  • The Division of Family and Community Services is working to provide or contract with at least three evidence-based services for in-home and foster care cases throughout the state. The 2023 Idaho Legislature approved rules that allow Family and Community Services to post reimbursement rates for these evidence-based services.   
  • The division is also implementing a family risk assessment tool that identifies needs and services to be delivered through in-home prevention case management. Staff are being trained to use the new tool, and those who complete training and certification will soon begin using it for specific cases. 
  • The division is working to shorten the time it takes to achieve permanency  for children in foster care as in-home and evidence-based interventions become available in Idaho.  
  • The division has improved staff retention in important areas such as safety assessment, case management, licensing, and permanency. I’m very pleased to report that staffing is steady, and positions are filled.  
Develop and implement a behavioral healthcare system in Idaho that provides the services people need when they need them through the Youth Empowerment Services program and the Idaho Behavioral Health Council’s strategic action plan.  
  • We’re currently distributing funding budgeted by Gov. Brad Little and the 2022 Idaho Legislature to establish psychiatric residential treatment facilities in three areas of the state, which will allow more children to receive needed services in Idaho, as well as certified community behavioral health clinics. Funds for Recovery Centers have also been approved by the Idaho Legislature and will be distributed soon.  
  • The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was launched last summer and was the first step to provide expanded access to emergency behavioral healthcare services. Work continues to expand emergency services available through the lifeline.  
  • We’ve initiated work to develop a better service coordination system for Idahoans with developmental disabilities and mental illness.  
Implement three new crisis system components for adults with developmental disabilities so they can access a full continuum of crisis care that keeps them in their communities whenever possible.  
  • The Division of Medicaid is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on a strategy to reimburse for campus residential services and specialized teams to serve adults with developmental disabilities.  
  • Medicaid is working to submit state plan amendments to CMS that would allow for new services to be covered under Medicaid for adults with developmental disabilities.  
  • Family and Community Services has received initial approval for funding for a new program called START, which stands for Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources, and Treatment. It will improve the quality and effectiveness of the division’s crisis prevention work with this group of people at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center and in Idaho communities.  
  • Family and Community Services is also evaluating new elements to determine whether they should be included in the new crisis system model.  

More details about all of this work can be found in our Strategic Plan, under Goal 2.  

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.