Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

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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.

U.S. Pacific Fleet

A southern Idaho man is the first person to die in the state from the flu this season.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports the man was over the age of 50 and died from an influenza-related illness. He’s the first person in Idaho to die in the 2016-2017 season.

Last flu season, 26 people died from the flu in Idaho. The average number of deaths in a year in the Gem State is 23. In the 2012-2013 season, 35 people died.

pills, drugs
DestinysAgent / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho health officials plan to ask lawmakers for about $11 million annually to provide mental health and drug abuse services to the state's parole offenders who are at the highest risk of returning to prison.

Tom Shanahan, a spokesman with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says the state is currently spending around $30,000 annually to serve the estimated 7,300 offenders identified with high mental health needs.

The department will make the request during the 2017 legislative session.

A Nampa nursing home is under fire after a state investigation found residents were being mistreated.

The Idaho Statesman reports that an Idaho Health and Welfare Department report cited Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for widespread problems that investigators say threatening the health and safety of residents and failed to protect them from abuse and negligence.

Idaho is working to reduce suicides in the state with a new $1 million program.

The Spokesman-Review reports that lawmakers this year allocated ongoing funding and changed the law that governs the mission of the state Department of Health and Welfare to specifically include suicide prevention.

To celebrate the ongoing efforts, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter on Thursday declared this week Suicide Prevention Week in the city.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Idaho’s child immunization rates improved in 2015, reaching a five-year high.

And Department of Health and Welfare officials don’t know what to make of the numbers yet.

 

In 2015, 86.7 percent of Idaho students were considered “adequately immunized,” according to Health and Welfare spreadsheets obtained this week by Idaho Education News. The 2014 figure was 85.6 percent.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new proposal Thursday that he says would help low income Idahoans get health care.

The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) still needs to be approved by the Idaho Legislature. It is designed to help adults 19-64 who don’t have health insurance.

Otter says Idaho doesn’t want to expand Medicaid and PCAP will help the 78,000 people who fall through the cracks of the current system.

For the last decades of the 20th century, death rates were declining for most Americans. But so far in 21st century Idaho, that's not happening.

Credit data: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare / Graph: Lacey Daley

A study by a Nobel Prize-winning economist made national headlines last week for saying middle-aged white Americans are dying at increasing rates while all other age and race groups have declining death rates. KBSX asked Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare to analyze the numbers for Idaho.

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.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Dozens of countries, including the U.S., have agreed on how to handle child support payments when one parent is in a different country. But the state of Idaho is holding out.

Now the issue is forcing Idaho lawmakers to return to the Capitol. They’re expected to reconsider a measure on interstate and international child support cases.

The federal government says if Idaho doesn’t adopt the rules as other states have, it could lose access to key databases.

Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Thursday he is not yet prepared to call a special legislative session to address child support.

Just before the 2015 legislative session ended last weekend, members of a House committee killed a bill to bring Idaho in compliance with changes to federal child support programs.

Lance McCord / Flickr Creative Commons

The Centers for Disease Control says a measles outbreak that spread from California's Disneyland has now reached 14 states and infected 102 people. No cases have been confirmed in Idaho, but many neighboring states are on the list including Utah, Washington and Oregon.

"We worry that it’s only a matter of time before we do see measles cases in Idaho," says Dr. Christine Hahn, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's medical director for the division of public health.

State of Idaho

A pilot project that could change the way Idahoans get treated during a mental health crisis has opened its doors in eastern Idaho. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Idaho Falls Monday morning.

US CPSC / Flickr

Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare says more calls are coming in about children being poisoned by bright and colorful laundry detergent packets this year compared to last. Children can mistake the plastic soap tabs for candy.

So far this year, 69 Idaho children in Idaho have been exposed to the packets by eating them or getting the soap in their eyes and nose. That compares to 45 kids during the same time frame last year.

This year, 40 kids went to the emergency room and five of those children ended up being hospitalized.

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