Strengthening Families is a research-based, cost-effective strategy to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce child abuse and neglect. It focuses on building five Protective Factors that also promote healthy outcomes.
Those five protective factors are parental resilience, social connections, knowledge of parenting and child development, concrete support in times of need and social and emotional competence of children.
Grandparents who find themselves parenting their grandchildren are presented with many challenges. Most importantly, they often lack legal authority to make decisions for the child. Thus grandparents may encounter difficulties enrolling grandchildren in school, obtaining medical care for grandchildren, obtaining medical insurance for grandchildren, and filing for public assistance benefits for grandchildren.
While a parent may seek the help of a child’s grandparents voluntarily, just as often grandchildren are left with grandparents without any advance planning. Some grandparents are estranged from the parents and may even have intervened and removed their grandchildren from a situation they deemed inappropriate for a child. Where parents have abandoned children with grandparents or where grandparents or other family members have intervened on behalf of the children, the process of obtaining legal authority may be complex. Grandparents in this situation may need to consider hiring an attorney and may have to make difficult, public allegations about their own children in court in order to secure legal authority. In 2010 IVC worked for passage of legislation called “De Facto Custodianship”. This legislation establishes a new custodial remedy for grandparents or other relative caregivers seeking legal custody of grandchildren or relatives. It provides a process for a court to use when deciding whether or not to grant de facto custodian status to a grandparent or other relative. Further, it specifies standards and incorporates by reference present statutes to be applied when evaluating best interests of a child when considering whether or not to award custody rights to a de facto custodian. The legislation sets out content requirements of a petition or motion to be filed with the court to commence a de facto custodianship proceeding, and it sets forth written requirements for notification to parties that may have an interest in the child. We are now working to establish self-help forms for those grandparents and relatives who are trying to establish this legal custody.
Child Fatality Review Process
Idaho Voices for Children worked to establish an Idaho Child Fatality Review Team and we promote the team’s annual report and will work to improve child safety by advocating for policies that reduce their identified causes of child deaths in Idaho.