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Early Care and Education

The early years in a child’s life are the foundation for later social and cognitive development. Done well, early childhood education can help level the playing field, especially for low-income children, by boosting school performance and self-sufficiency over a lifetime.

Our goal is to create an early learning system in Idaho that supports families by making sure they have high quality choices for their children’s early care and learning-whether their children spend their days at home, in formal childcare or pre-school or with family and friends.

Strengthening Families

Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs and communities in building five protective factors:

Protective Factors Framework

The five protective factors at the foundation of Strengthening Families are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Learn more about the research-based Protective Factors Framework below.

Defacto Custodianship

All across the United States, millions of children are being raised by relatives who have taken on the role of caregiver. Unlike foster care parents, many of these relative caregivers have little or no outside financial support for raising these children. This is an issue that affects many Idahoans as well. In Idaho over 18,000 children live in households headed by grandparents and other relatives. Of this number only 1,860 are currently in the foster care system. Parental incarceration and substance abuse are the two most common reasons for relatives to assume caregiving responsibilities. Grand family and kin care offers stability for these children; 85% of children placed with relatives lived in the same home for a year compared to 58% for non-kin foster parents in 2002-2003. As a result Idaho Voices for Children focused their 2010 efforts on legislation that would support these grand and kincare families.

This legislation was signed by Governor Otter on April 6, 2010, it reforms the De Facto custodian provisions and better defines the circumstances under which an individual has standing as a de facto custodian. This law will also define how the custodian can pursue custody of a child and what legal rights are accorded them.

Idaho Child Fatality Review Process

Child Fatality Review Process

Idaho Voices for Children was the driving force to establish an Idaho Child Fatality Review Team. We promote the team’s annual report and improve child safety by advocating for policies that reduce their identified causes of child deaths in Idaho.

Background: Every child in Idaho is entitled to live in safety and in health and to survive into adulthood; recognizing that no single agency or person is responsible, there needed to be a multidisciplinary, multiagency child mortality review team assist in identifying trends cause and factors and preventative measures.

Until 2003, Idaho had a Child Fatality Review Team that produced four annual reports on child deaths of Idaho residents from 1997 through 2000. In 2003 the team was disbanded, leaving Idaho as the only state in the nation to not have a child fatality review team.
On May 8th 2012 Governor Butch Otter signed an Executive order establishing the Idaho Child Fatality Review Process. This was a direct result of the work done by IVC.
The Purpose of Child Fatality Review

Idaho Voices for Children believes that unexpected/unexplained child deaths should include an accurate and complete determination of the cause of death, with the purpose of decreasing the risk and incidence of these deaths by undertaking the following:

Identify trends relevant to unexpected/unexplained child death.
Identifying factors which make a child at risk for death.
Collecting and sharing the causes, trends and preventative measures among team members and agencies which provide services to children and families or investigate child deaths.
Partner with appropriate organizations to educate the public in Idaho regarding incidence and causes of child death and the strategies in aiding in reducing these risks.
Provide the Governor, Legislature, and the public with an annual written report which shall include findings and recommendations.