Thanksgiving is also National Family Health History Day – Do you know the medical history of your relatives?

family-photo-827763_640When the U.S. Surgeon General declared in 2004 that National Family Health History Day would fall on Thanksgiving each year, he was acknowledging the importance of knowing your family health history. You and your family share genes, culture, behaviors, and environments – all of which can have an impact on your health. When you know that information and share it with your doctor, he or she can make more informed choices for how to personalize your health screenings and treatment. Thanksgiving can be a great time to talk with your family about how your health is related, so you can give your doctor the best information possible. Continue reading “Thanksgiving is also National Family Health History Day – Do you know the medical history of your relatives?”

WIC program sponsors 1st-ever Idaho Breastfeeding Summit to continue support for mothers and babies

Mimi Fetzer
By Mimi Fetzer, RDN, LD Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Idaho WIC Program of IDHW’s Division of Public Health

In the summer of 2016, the Idaho Women, Infants, Children (WIC) program’s breastfeeding accomplishments helped it receive a Breastfeeding Bonus Award of $103,882 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Breastfeeding4
The Idaho Breastfeeding Summit drew 160 participants Aug. 1-3 in Boise.

Many of the WIC-designated breastfeeding experts also participate in the Idaho Breastfeeding Coalition to help supplement their knowledge and community outreach efforts. It was proposed that a large portion of the Idaho Breastfeeding Bonus Award go toward funding a first-ever Idaho Breastfeeding Summit, a conference that would strengthen breastfeeding efforts currently benefiting the state of Idaho. Continue reading “WIC program sponsors 1st-ever Idaho Breastfeeding Summit to continue support for mothers and babies”

Six SWITC employees disciplined for abuse, neglect of residents

NAMPA – The Department of Health and Welfare has finished its investigation into allegations of physical and psychological abuse and neglect by staff members involving seven adult residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) in Nampa.

The investigation revealed a localized issue involving six employees. Disciplinary action up to and including termination has been taken against all the employees who were found to have engaged in conduct considered abuse and/or neglect. They have either voluntarily left employment or were terminated for cause.

The investigation determined there were two main perpetrators who psychologically and/or physically abused residents. There was no sexual abuse.

Four employees were aware of the psychological abuse by the two employees and did not report it, which constitutes neglect. Continue reading “Six SWITC employees disciplined for abuse, neglect of residents”

IDHW’s “Live Better Idaho” website to be featured on Public Television’s “Informed” series

LBI Website

The Department of Health and Welfare’s innovative and award-winning social and community service referral website, “Live Better Idaho,” will be featured in an upcoming segment of “Informed,”  a short-form documentary series that is distributed to Public Television stations in all 50 states and hosted by actor Rob Lowe. Continue reading “IDHW’s “Live Better Idaho” website to be featured on Public Television’s “Informed” series”

Health & Welfare investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center

NAMPA – The Department of Health and Welfare is investigating allegations of physical and psychological abuse and neglect by staff members involving seven adult residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center (SWITC) in Nampa.

SWITC’s mission is to provide assessment, training, and treatment to people with intellectual disabilities until they can be safely transitioned back into their communities. SWITC currently has 25 residents and 109 permanent and temporary employees.

“These actions go against everything we stand for and are being treated with the utmost urgency,” said DHW Director Russ Barron. “The safety of residents is our highest concern and priority, especially in this challenging environment. We follow procedures that ensure the safety and dignity of those in our care. I am extremely disappointed that some staff have not followed those procedures. They will be disciplined, including dismissal if the circumstances are warranted.” Continue reading “Health & Welfare investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at Southwest Idaho Treatment Center”

You can help celebrate The Week of the Young Child this week

Come one, come all, it’s a community celebration!  Idaho, along with all other states, is celebrating our youngest citizens this week… our CHILDREN!

The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) during the last full week in April. Throughout the week, Idahoans will be celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families.

weekofyoungchild.jpgThe National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.  Members work to achieve a collective vision: that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. Locally, the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children leads the celebration efforts with community events across the state.  Statewide, each early childhood education program celebrates uniquely.  For families and community members, this is a great time to show appreciation to the special professionals that serve young children.  Continue reading “You can help celebrate The Week of the Young Child this week”

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected abuse or neglect (It’s the law!)

041117ChildAbuseKeeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it. Continue reading “Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected abuse or neglect (It’s the law!)”

DHW social workers “Stand Up” for Idahoans every day

SocialWorkWeek2017

March is Social Work Month, a nationwide campaign to recognize and better educate the public about the professionally trained and certified social workers who “stand up” for vulnerable people every day, including the more than 300 social workers employed statewide by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW).

DHW social workers serve in a variety of roles and job titles across several of the department’s divisions, including Family and Community Services, Behavioral Health, Licensing and Certification, Medicaid and Welfare. They come into daily contact with vulnerable Idahoans who are seeking help, comforting people who are experiencing illness, mental health crises and substance use issues and ensuring they receive the correct care, resources and assistance on the road to recovery.

For example, child and family social workers at IDHW stand up by protecting Idaho children who have been abused or neglected, helping displaced children find a nurturing environment through foster families, re-unification or adoption, and working to ensure young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Continue reading “DHW social workers “Stand Up” for Idahoans every day”

Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected child abuse or neglect

Keeping children safe is one of our primary goals at the Department of Health and Welfare. This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it’s a good time talk about what you should do if you think a child might be neglected or abused.

If you suspect a child is abused or neglected, what should you do?

We hope you’ll care enough to call 1-855-552-KIDS. If you even suspect that a child is being mistreated, you are required by law to call and report it. Your call is confidential, and you don’t have to prove neglect or abuse. That’s the job of law enforcement and social workers. You just need to let us know you think there might be an issue, so our child protection staff can start looking into it.  Continue reading “Please help Idaho’s children by reporting suspected child abuse or neglect”

Falen LeBlanc

Flag on U.S. Capitol was flown in honor of foster youth mentor

Falen LeBlanc
Falen LeBlanc worked for DHW’s child welfare program for 15 years. One of the foster youth she mentored worked in Sen. Mike Crapo’s office and arranged for a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to be retired in her honor.

With the sunset on Feb. 26, a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol was retired in honor of a Department of Health and Welfare employee whose career with the department also has ended. Child Welfare Program’s Independent Living Program Specialist, Falen LeBlanc, was honored with the Capitol flag by foster youth she has tirelessly advocated for during her 15 year career with DHW’s child welfare program.

Former foster youth Ricky Lewis and Kailamai Hansen, who now co-chair the Idaho Foster Youth Advisory Board, made the arrangements for the Capitol flag through Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s office. Sen. Crapo will send the flag to Idaho, along with a personalized congratulatory note to Falen. Ricky, Kailamai and other former foster youth joined DHW staff on a recent Friday afternoon and showed Falen a webcam view of the flag flying over the U.S. Capitol in her honor as they paid tribute to her.

“It was very sweet and moving,” Falen said. “I am going to miss my co-workers, but leaving the kids that I have worked with over the years is the hardest thing. I am so proud of them; they have grown so much and they are so special. ”  Continue reading “Flag on U.S. Capitol was flown in honor of foster youth mentor”