More emergency funding is available for childcare providers in Idaho

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) has launched Phase 2 of the Idaho Child Care Emergency Grant. This is a new opportunity open to all eligible childcare providers, including those who may have previously received grant funding from DHW.

Some basic details about this phase of the Idaho Child Care Emergency Grant include:

  • Applications will only be accepted via email to ChildCareGrant@dhw.idaho.gov through Aug. 31.
  • To qualify, a childcare program must be participating with Idaho Child Care Program and/or are licensed and open and providing full-time childcare.
  • Phase 2 funding should be used to support staffing costs, cleaning and janitorial supplies and services, business operations, and transportation.  
  • This is not a “first-come, first-served” grant opportunity. All eligible applicants will receive at least two monthly award payments.
  • Each applicant will be responsible for the recordkeeping of all required grant documentation and proof of eligible expenditures.
  • Phase 2 grants will be distributed in equal monthly payments, beginning in August until the funds are depleted. Total grant amounts will be determined by provider type, as follows:
Phase II Idaho Child Care Emergency Grant
 Large centers (Licensed capacity of 25+ children)  $ 5,000
 Small centers (Licensed capacity of 13-24 children)  $ 2,500
 Licensed group homes (7-12 children)  $ 1,000
 Family childcare homes (Up to 6 children)  $    500
Continue reading “More emergency funding is available for childcare providers in Idaho”

A day in the lives of DHW self-reliance specialists for Child Support Services

Throw out your preconceived notions of a customer service representative who takes orders and transfers calls. In today’s world, at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW), customer service representatives are problem-solvers and communicators. They are investigators and protectors. They listen to understand, and they speak with smiles guaranteed to comfort confused and anxious callers.

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Self-reliance specialist Ambrosia Felton keeps her thank you notes on her desk to remind her of the people she has helped.

Their titles today are more reflective of their purpose. They are self-reliance specialists, and they are resolute in their goal to help their customers get to self-sufficiency by assisting them in times of need.

Ambrosia Felton and Rachelle Thrower are two of the 96 self-reliance specialists (located in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello) who create the defining experience for those who call Child Support Services in the department’s Division of Welfare. The callers are mostly moms and dads who are either receiving support or providing support for their children. Sometimes the callers are employers or caseworkers.

Ambrosia and Rachelle are the first point of contact for parents who need help navigating the child support collection system. Child support is based on the idea that both parents are financially responsible for their children, and Child Support Services helps parents either pay or collect child support payments. In 2018, Child Support Services administered 147,518 cases and collected and distributed more than $205.8 million to Idaho families. Continue reading “A day in the lives of DHW self-reliance specialists for Child Support Services”

February food stamps benefits to be issued in January

Because of the federal government shutdown, the Department of Health and Welfare will be issuing February benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Sunday, Jan. 20.

All households approved and re-evaluated by Tuesday, Jan. 15, will receive their February food stamps on Jan. 20. Households that complete a re-evaluation and are approved after Jan. 15 for February will receive their benefits on their regular issuance date. The department is continuing to accept and process applications normally through January and February and doesn’t anticipate any delays in SNAP issuance.

Everyone who is eligible for SNAP benefits in February will receive their benefits. However, households that receive their February benefits in January will not receive an additional issuance in February. Recipients are encouraged to budget their food stamps to last until they receive their March benefits.

“This is a fluid time for federal government services,” said Julie Hammon, administrator of the Division of Welfare. “Until we know more, please consider a donation to your local food banks and pantries – February will be tough month for many because of the length of time between benefits.”

Letters to recipients were sent by first class mail on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Department staff also have been communicating with grocery stores and other community partners on the schedule change.

If recipients have questions about the early issuance or SNAP benefits in general, they can call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 in Idaho or the Self-Reliance call center at 1-877-456-1233.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is administered in the Division of Welfare in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Benefits are paid entirely with federal funds. Learn more about the program here.

Media Contact:  Niki Forbing-Orr
Public Information Manager
(208) 334-0668 or Niki.Forbing-Orr@dhw.idaho.gov

 

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.

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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”

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”

Get connected with LiveBetterIdaho.org

A new website connects Idahoans with health and social services in their communities. The idea is to empower families to discover and quickly access the services they need to help them become strong, secure, and live better. LiveBetterIdaho.org allows people to not only see available services from state agencies, nonprofits, and faith-based and community groups, it is focused on finding services quickly and showing how to immediately access the service by phone, in person, or by email. It is easy to use, and new services are being added every week.

Who should use it?

The site is meant for all Idahoans who are looking for health and social services that match their unique interests and needs. It can also serve as a tool for anyone who works with families, including caseworkers, pastors, nonprofit volunteers and others who need a way to connect them to a service without knowing all the details about where and how the service works. Continue reading “Get connected with LiveBetterIdaho.org”

Rollout of new food stamps schedule was uneventful

Idaho’s  transition to a 10-day schedule for the distribution of food stamps benefits was smooth, with minimal issues being reported  for the 180,000 citizens enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Food stamp recipients, grocery stores and food pantries proved to be informed and prepared for the change, which took place from July 1-10.

“Based on what has happened in other states, this had the potential to be an extremely difficult transition,” said Welfare Administrator Lori Wolff. “But there were very few issues, thanks to the collaboration and efforts of all of our partners in feeding Idahoans who need help to put food on their tables. Most of the calls we received were from people who knew but had forgotten about the change. We were able to help them get the information and resources they needed until their benefits were available.” Continue reading “Rollout of new food stamps schedule was uneventful”

New schedule means most food stamps recipients will not receive their benefits on Friday

Big changes begin on Friday for the way food stamps benefits are delivered.

Starting then, food stamps will be delivered over the first 10 days of the month rather than only on the first. Because of this, most recipients will not receive their benefits on the first and will have to wait up to 9 additional days before their benefits are available, depending on the last number of the primary applicant’s birth year.

“It’s critically important for recipients to know when they will receive their benefits so they have enough food,” said Lori Wolff, administrator for the division of Welfare. “We have several options in place so they know when those benefits will load up on the cards and are available to use. We hope they have been using those tools and are aware of the change.”  Continue reading “New schedule means most food stamps recipients will not receive their benefits on Friday”

Change is coming in less than 2 months for food stamps recipients in Idaho

Starting July 1, food stamps benefits will be delivered on a different schedule. They will be delivered over the first 10 days of the month, instead of only on the first of the month. It’s very important that everyone involved understands how they may be affected so they can plan ahead and avoid a food shortage as much as possible. Participants who do not receive their benefits on the first of the month will need to have a plan for how they will address the extra days until their benefits are available.

Why is the schedule being changed?

The Legislature passed a law in 2014 to require the department to issue benefits over the first 10 days of the month rather than only on the first day of the month. Grocers had lobbied the Legislature to move to a 10-day distribution for benefits because of crowded stores, long lines and challenges with inventory on the first of each month. The department has been working with grocery stores, food banks and pantries, and others since July 2015 to make this transition as seamless as possible. Continue reading “Change is coming in less than 2 months for food stamps recipients in Idaho”

LiveBetterIdaho.org is a new and unique way for consumers to discover and connect to supports that can help them live healthier lives.

LiveBetterIdaho.org offers a ‘holistic web approach’ for Idahoans

Live better, Idaho.

A new website focused on empowering Idahoans to do just that is now available.

LiveBetterIdaho.org is a new and unique way for consumers to discover and connect to supports that can help them live healthier lives. By linking them to appropriate services, they can be empowered to make better choices and – we hope — move themselves and their families to independent, healthier lives.

“It is a very ambitious goal and helps the public quickly take action to access local, state and national resources available to help Idahoans,” said Dick Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW). “LiveBetterIdaho.org is more of a holistic web approach for people who want to improve their lives. It can help them put food on their tables, enroll in a nutrition education class, find jobs and mentors, make child support payments, quit smoking, and get access to healthcare, among other things.”

LiveBetterIdaho.org is a new and unique way for consumers to discover and connect to supports that can help them live healthier lives.

The site was created by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to fulfill an initiative in its strategic plan, but the department is only the facilitator for a strategy of connecting people in need to a larger framework that includes community partnerships and services in addition to public assistance programs. Continue reading “LiveBetterIdaho.org offers a ‘holistic web approach’ for Idahoans”