May is National Foster Care Month and an opportunity to build further awareness about issues affecting foster care in Idaho. There are around 1,500 foster children at any given time in Idaho, and we’re always in need of more families willing to help, whether as kinship caregivers or as foster parents.
When children can’t safely remain with their parents, the first place we look is to relatives or close family friends where children can maintain close family relationships and cultural traditions.
Close family and friends who care for children in need of temporary homes are called kinship caregivers, and Idaho has tens of thousands who take on the role when a child’s parents aren’t able to. Kinship living arrangements may be made formally through the courts or through Health and Welfare’s Child Protection Program.
Often, however, family members or close family friends voluntarily take relative children into their homes during family crisis. This can be challenging legally, financially, and emotionally. If you are a kinship care provider in Idaho, you aren’t alone, and help is available.
Idaho’s Kinship Program offers resources for kinship caregivers to help with financial costs, legal resources, support groups, respite resources, and more.
If children don’t have a relative or close family friend who can take them during a crisis, foster families are also an option, and Idaho is always in need of more foster families.
To consider becoming a foster parent, call 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588 or visit: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/services-programs/children-families/….
Cameron Gilliland is the administrator of the Division of Family and Community Services. He has worked for the department since 1996 in various capacities and was promoted to administrator in August 2021. He has been trained as a clinical social worker and has overseen policy for the Child Welfare Program and managed several developmental disability programs in the department.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.
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