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Idaho Foster Care Awareness Day: a day now dedicated to bringing awareness to foster care needs

“More than 2,800 Idaho children spent time in foster care throughout the last year 2021, due to abuse, neglect, and abandonment,” Governor Little said.

BOISE, Idaho — On Monday, Idaho Governor Brad Little proclaimed that February 7th, 2022 will be Idaho Foster Care Awareness Day.

“More than 2,800 Idaho children spent time in foster care throughout the last year 2021, due to abuse, neglect, and abandonment,” Governor Little said.

A day now dedicated to bringing awareness to the needs of Idaho children in foster care programs.

“Last summer we began experiencing a shortage of foster homes in the treasure valley and as we didn’t have places for children to go to we would be placing them at times in offices with our staff and then into hotels,” said Cameron Gilliland, the family and child administrator for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

As the foster care situation in the Treasure Valley became more problematic, Gilliland said the state began moving children into short-term rentals.

“This issue isn't just in the Treasure Valley it's in other parts of the state as well but not to the extent where they have needed to do short-term rentals, Gilliland said.

According to the annual foster care report that was released during a child protection legislative oversight committee meeting on Monday, since July of 2021, 69 children have stayed in short-term rentals or hotels for an average of ten days. Experts said the reason is because of a lack of foster parents and the need for more social workers.

“I haven't run into a foster parent that says 'I do it for the money either,' I do run into foster parents that say this reimbursement is really low and they are not breaking even,” Gilliland said.

In response to recent challenges, according to Gilliland the state has ramped up recruitment efforts, increased foster care incentives, and is determined to increase the foster parent monthly maintenance rate.

According to Roxanne Printz, deputy administrator for Family and Community Services reports of child abuse and neglect are also increasing.

“There are more reports coming in terms of maybe kids coming out of situation after not being seen for a while,” said Printz.

Printz added that in 2021 58% of children in the foster care system went home, 39% of them were placed with non-relatives. 29% of children in Idaho went up for adoptions and 10% are placed in congregate care.

“We're not going to stay there, we can't stay there, we know the best place for children is to be in homes,” Printz said.

Experts are hopeful that the current need for more foster care families and employees will be fulfilled because of current incentives.

“The system has a lot of challenges, they have always had a lot of challenges,” said Printz. “This is not just a child protection system; this is about a community.”

For people interested in learning more about foster parenting, they can visit Idaho Health and Welfare

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