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Idaho State News

Gov. Little, Health and Welfare Take Steps to Strengthen Foster Care, Child Welfare System

Release from the Office of Gov. Brad Little
June 8, 2024

Release from the Office of Gov. Brad Little June 8, 2024

BOISE – Governor Brad Little signed Executive Order 2024-05, the “Promoting Families and Protecting Children Act,” on Friday and announced additional steps his administration is taking to remove barriers for foster families and better protect youth in the child welfare system.


“There is no category of children more in need of protection than those in the child welfare system. Through no fault of their own, children in foster care in Idaho face enormous challenges. They need our support, and so do the foster families who step up to care for them, love them, and provide them safety,” Governor Little said.  “The Promoting Families and Protecting Children Act will accelerate the improvements we know we need to address in our child welfare system in Idaho.”

The executive order directs the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) to build stronger partnerships to better serve mothers and babies, reduce barriers to adoption for children in foster care, and to increase the number of foster families in Idaho. The executive order also promotes early intervention for at-risk youth and families so we can more easily prevent a child from entering the child welfare system to begin with, and it addresses other areas of improvement at DHW so that families are centric to the decision-making process at all levels of the agency’s work in this critical area.

Governor Little also directed newly appointed DHW Director Alex Adams to implement early regulatory actions in the first week of his management of the agency, including:

  1. DHW adopted a temporary rule Wednesday that waives adoption fees as a way to remove another barrier to the adoption of children in the department’s care.
  1. The Board of Health and Welfare took action Thursday to simplify the licensure of foster families by removing many specific restrictions and deferring more to foster parent judgment. The board adopted a policy of licensing by inclusion, meaning if a family didn’t have a required safety feature such as a fire extinguisher, DHW will cover the expense within its budget for the purpose of enrolling families as foster parents.

In addition, Governor Little directed DHW to institute a “Foster Parent Bill of Rights” to inform foster parents and DHW staff about the rights foster parents have while caring for children. The Foster Parent Bill of Rights recognizes the critical role of foster parents in the care and nurturing of children in the custody of DHW.

DHW will train its employees over the summer, with the goal to fully implement the Foster Parent Bill of Rights by August 1, 2024.

“None of these actions alone will solve all the issues in our state’s child welfare system, but the Governor directed me to pursue these initial steps in order to build trust with our foster families and promote an organizational culture focused on what is best for the children in the care of the State of Idaho,” DHW Director Adams said.

“Simply put, we have more children in need of a foster family than we have families to help them. We are seeking to change that. Foster parents are heroes. They give of themselves and their resources to make a loving home available to children in need. We need to do all we can to make it easier for foster families to bring these children into their lives and homes,” Governor Little added.


Idaho State News

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