Special Efforts Being Made in Idaho to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Idaho had gone for many years without a Child Death Review Board.  Through Executive Order, the Governor established development of a Board in 2012.  The team operates under direction from the Governor-appointed Task Force for Children at Risk. Review Team activities are funded and coordinated through the Department of Health and Welfare.  Although Idaho re-established its team before the Commission report, it has been able to sustain reviews under the Executive Order.  Idaho is a national example because of the interagency collaboration for the review process between child welfare and public health. Public health is able to access comprehensive information on their child fatalities, creates a full case abstract and the shares that information with the review team. The state’s 2016 recommendations include a number that are consistent with the Commission’s including: improving coroner and law enforcement death investigations of unexplained infant deaths; using national standards for classifying deaths, encouraging more child maltreatment prevention programs that focus on parent education, strong agency coordination, improved screening and home visitation; and improving the recognition of and reporting of physical abuse and neglect. [Recommendation 2.1]

Idaho’s Child and Family Services Program (CFS) modified its policy and standardized the internal child fatality review process. Reviews now include participation from partner agencies. Review summaries and recommendations are shared with the statewide child fatality review panel commissioned by the Governor’s Children at Risk Task Force (CARTF). One such review led to revisions in the Mountain Home AFB and CFS Memorandum of Understanding, leading to improved clarity and education.


February 13, 2018 -The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a series of supplemental appropriations - allocations of funds within the current budget year - this morning, including a plan to increase the state's child welfare staff. Caseloads have been soaring; there were 2,714 children in foster care in Idaho in fiscal year 2017, a 6 percent increase from the previous year and 13 percent higher than 2013's count. Plus, increasingly, more kids are coming onto foster care than are leaving; last year, 184 more kids arrived in Idaho's foster care system than left.

State Administration

February 11, 2018- OPE evaluators looked in detail at 207 cases, a sample of the roughly 3,300 statewide child protection cases in 2017. In roughly a third of those cases, children involved in a child protective services case, which often results in the removal of a child from their parents' home, didn't receive the representation of either a guardian ad litem (a court-appointed advocate) or a public defender.