BOISE, Idaho (AP) — 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 report recommends the state dramatically beef up staffing, foster parent recruitment and retention programs, and create a new legislative committee or other group that can oversee the entire system.
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Tuesday morning that he has met with Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong and a few others to discuss the report and that he knows they need to pay attention to the findings. But he said he wasn’t yet ready to talk about specifics on how the state will address the problems moving forward.