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Hello Idaho: Children's Home Society offers aid for all

The Children's Home served as an orphanage until foster care came about in the late 1960s and early 70s. In 1975, it became an outpatient mental health clinic.

BOISE, Idaho — The Children's Home has stood at 740 Warm Springs Avenue in Boise since 1910. 

It opened two years after the Children's Home Society formed to provide a place for children who were roaming city streets, begging and stealing food, according to the society's website.    

Executive Director Anselme Sadiki told KTVB that over the years kids came for other reasons. 

"When many parents were not able to afford to take care of their kids because of poverty or famine or during the Great Depression, many of the families would actually drop off their children at the Children's Home hoping that they would come back to get them once they got on their feet," Sadiki said. 

Many parents never came back and some of the children were adopted, while others were not.  

"And ended up actually growing up at the Children's Home until they turned 17 or 18 and they could go on their own," Sadiki said.

The Children's Home served as an orphanage until foster care came about in the late 1960s and early 70s. In 1975, it became an outpatient mental health clinic. 

The Children's Home Society now operates the Warm Springs Counseling Center in the building, which provides mental, behavioral and emotional health care services to children from two to 18 years old.  

"We make sure we do an appropriate evaluation to determine exactly what are the root causes of the child," Sadiki said. 

The center treats young patients for conditions including bullying, trauma, abuse, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorders and more.  

Sadiki said they offer many types of therapy, such as play therapy. 

"When you are an expert in play therapy, you can absolutely observe a child and be able to understand exactly what they are trying to tell you through their playing," he explained.   

The Children's Home Society says the counseling center served more than 2,800 kids and their family members over the last year.  

"That's just a drop in the bucket," Sadiki said. "When you consider the fact that statistically speaking just a couple years ago, the number of kids who did not have at all access to mental health in Idaho was about 44,000."  

Sadiki said the pandemic pushed up the need for their services.

"There's no way you can only help a child without helping their parents. It's not going to work," Sadiki said. "Because I think COVID has brought just so much problems within families with isolation and whatnot." 

The Warm Springs Counseling Center never turns anyone away.  

"If someone can't afford to pay for the service, we will subsidize that service so that no child will go without getting help," Sadiki said.

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