Children

As anyone with children, or grandchildren, knows, parenting isn’t easy. Children and adolescents are growing up in a complex and connected world where smartphones, video games, organized activities and friends vie for their attention. At the same time, parents aren’t exactly always sure what their job description should be – or how to best nurture their child.

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State auditors say Idaho's child welfare system is overwhelmed, with too few foster parents, too heavy caseloads for social workers and not enough infrastructure to hold it all together.

The study from the Legislature's Office of Performance Evaluations found that the number of foster parents has decreased by 8 percent since 2014, while social workers are dealing with 28 to 38 percent more cases than they can reasonably handle.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released its annual Kids Count Data Book, which examines children’s well being across the country.

The 2015 numbers show Idaho continues to lag in pre-school offerings.

Nearly 70 percent of children don’t attend school until kindergarten. That’s something that concerns Idaho Kids Count Director Lauren Necochea.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A visiting Boise State professor has spent this week trying to get Idaho children to connect with refugee children.

The “Quilting to Speak” workshop is the brainchild of Reshmi Mukherjee. She’s a visiting professor at Boise State, and is teaching a course this summer about communication between refugees and non-refugees.

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Idaho students scored higher taking new standardized tests compared to the national benchmarks used to measure English language arts and math proficiency.

The Idaho State Department of Education released the preliminary scores on Wednesday.

Scores were supposed to be released June 5, but a delay with the vendor pushed the release date several weeks.

This is the first year the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium examination's scores have been released. Last year, the state rolled out a practice version to work out the kinks of the new system.

It’s a lawsuit that’s been going on since 1980 and it may finally be resolved. Known as the “Jeff D.” lawsuit, it focuses on children’s mental health services in Idaho.

Despite repeated attempts to resolve the 35-year-old case, it keeps coming back. At the core of the issue is Idaho’s system for providing care to kids with mental health problems. The plaintiffs says the state isn’t doing enough for those kids.

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This week, we’re going behind the scenes of Idaho’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC). Since 2008, the unit has made 237 arrests in Idaho. The yearly numbers have remained fairly steady for several years, hovering between 30 and 40.

Across the country, ICAC units have seen a consistent increase in the number of people arrested for crimes against children since 2000.

Yannick Meyer / Flickr

Do you know what your kids are doing online? That’s the question Tim Brady asks when he talks about his work protecting children from internet predators. After nine years shielding kids, this Boise Police detective has some advice for parents when it comes to the Internet and safety.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

This story includes graphic descriptions and language that may not be suitable for young audiences; some may find this content offensive.

Police Detective Tim Brady sits at his desk, surrounded by computer screens. He flips on a monitor and an instant-chat session is on the screen, this one recorded a few years ago. It is one of thousands of hours the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children unit, (ICAC) has spent online.

“Within less than a minute I’m bombarded with all these people that think they’re speaking with a 13-year-old girl,” Brady says.

drpavloff / Flickr Creative Commons

A new initiative to make daycare centers healthier for Boise children will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday at Boise City Hall. 

City councilman T.J. Thomson wants the city to adopt his “Healthy Child Care Initiative.”