It truly takes a village to raise a child, even in the best of times. But when a family is struggling to provide a safe and nurturing home for their children, it sometimes becomes necessary for a child to be placed with a foster family so they can be safe while their parents address issues until they can provide a safe home for their child.
When children can’t remain safely with their parents, placement with relatives or close family friends is the preferred option because it helps children maintain close family relationships and cultural traditions.
Idaho has tens of thousands of kinship caregivers who take on the role of parenting when the child’s parents are unable to fulfill that role. These living arrangements may be made formally through the Department of Health and Welfare's Child Protection Program or the court system, but are often arranged without formal intervention.
Often, family members voluntarily take relative children into their homes during family crisis. This can be challenging legally, financially, and emotionally. If you are one of the kinship care providers in Idaho, you are not 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 in during a crisis, foster families are an option. About 1,500 children are in foster care at any given time in Idaho, and the need for foster families is always high.
More information on how to become a foster parent is available on the department’s website, or you can call 2-1-1 or 800-926-2588 and a foster care representative will contact them.
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.