2015 March NewsBlast


Essential News for You and Your Family

Idaho Federation of Families NewsBlast
March 17, 2015

“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go” -Irish Blessing
Dear Mike,
 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The following Federation NewsBlast is our E-newsletter highlighting exciting opportunities, important information and some community calendar activities that may be of interest.

We very much encourage organizations and individuals to notify our office when you have relevant upcoming community events that we may share on our website calendar, and our monthly Federation NewsBlasts.  Call us in Boise at 208-433-8845 or 1-800-905-3436.

Steve’s Space

Last Blast I spoke hopefully about good things that will be occurring in the near future.  Thank you to those who responded positively and those who inquired about the Emergency Respite Care project we will be launching soon.  That being said, in this Blast I am a bit sad and somber.  One of the heroes of the National Families movement, in fact, one of the founders of the Federation, Virginia (Ginny) Wood has passed on.  She is recognized as the first parent leader to begin a family run organization.  Her memory is honored throughout the country by all federation and family run organization members.  Click the following link to read a blog written by my colleague in MA, Lisa Lambert, regarding the current state of family organizations.      http://ppal.net/2015/01/blog-posts/4803

 But even beyond the passing of Ginny, I am further saddened by the realization that the current legislative session will soon be ended.  Not because I hate to see a session end, but because of the incredibly important public business that may not be addressed for another year.  And I mean significant public business that impacts the lives of thousands of Idaho families and individuals.  And these are families and individuals who have placed their trust in their elected officials to do the right thing for them and address this business.

On that list of disregarded business is Medicaid expansion or redesign.  This has been left hanging for multiple sessions at a cost of millions of dollars to the state and even the lives of hundreds of Idahoans who, as a result of inaction, were unable to obtain health care coverage.  Simply offering a hearing on the current proposed version called the Healthy Idaho Plan would be a step forward, and provide an opportunity for Idahoans to present their cases, their cases of personal stories of family members who died as a direct result of no health care coverage, and about themselves falling through the coverage gap.

Medicaid Expansion is, and has been a priority for the Federation and continues to be one.  Expansion of Medicaid would give a tremendous lift to all Idahoans and particularly benefit the mental health community.  So it makes perfect sense for advocates to be advocating for legislative action. But advocates advocating is one thing, and legislators hearing directly from their constituents is another. If you believe as I do, that this is public business that demands attention, and is the responsible route for legislators to take, then contact your representatives and senators, write, call, e-mail or tweet the Speaker and Pro Tem, and ask them to take action. You can find contact information at the following link: http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm 

And then, among many others, there is the state minimum wage, a wage that is the dominant wage for thousands of Idahoans and is clearly not adequate to support a family, or fair.  People with disabilities are too often among the hardest working and earning the lowest wage. The state of Washington’s minimum wage of $9.47 applies to all workers, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum ($8.05).  Sure, Idaho isn’t Washington, but come on, $7.25 can’t be increased?  At least to what 14-15 year olds are earning next door?  I am no economist but it makes sense that more cash in the pockets of so many Idahoans means more spending and that is good for families and the economy.  In both cases at least scheduling and holding hearings would at least be indicative of a legislature that is willing to listen.  Hopefully I am wrong about a session ending with major public business sitting on the table, and legislators are doing all they can to do what is right, and all of the business of the state will be addressed.

I would much rather be talking about the upcoming CMH Awareness Week events, the statewide poster contest, the resource fair at Kids Fun Fest, and even our Easter Bunny Connection, but fortunately for me, these and many other items will be found elsewhere in this NewsBlast.  So it goes……………..     

While many people around the world think they are unprejudiced, without even knowing it a lot of us make snap judgments instantly when we see somebody unconsciously. Whether it’s gender, race, age, disability, or religion these subconscious biases affect us all.  Many people in the United States feel that they have been discriminated against in their life.
Read more at http://www.sun-gazing.com/skeletons-dance-hug-kiss-front-crowd-step-cant-stop-smiling/#89czq2Eg47FLu4hB.99 and watch the video.

2014 Grand Prize winner by Miss Alex Vivian, Idaho Falls
4th Annual 
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 
Poster Contest


Enter in one of three classroom grade groups:  3rd-5th, 6th-8th, 9th-12th

Prizes will be awarded in each region for the winners from each grade group and for the overall regional winner.  The regional winners will then compete for the Grand Prize (to be announced).

2014 Grand Prize winner by Ms. Alex Vivian, ID Falls

Entries must illustrate the Theme: “Mental Health is Fundamental” and theme wording needs to be included in your entry.

Maximum size is 12″ x 14″ and any medium can be used including pen, pencil, water color, markers, crayons, etc.


Poster Entry Form

Name:_______________________________________  Grade:_____  Age:_____ School_________________________

Home Address:______________________________________________________________________________________

Phone Number:___________________________  Email:_______________________________________________

I understand that my entry becomes the property of IFFCMH and may be published and/or used for educational and promotional purposes.  Entries may not be returned.

Signed:____________________________________          _____________________________________________

              Student                                                           Parent/legal guardian

In Region 1, submit entries to Children’s Mental Health, 2195 Ironwood Court, Coeur d’Alene, ID  83814. Or email to johnsonM@dhw.idaho.gov  Deadline for entries in Region 1 is April 24th.

In Region 2, submit entries to Sequoia Counseling, Attn: Brenda McKenzie, 531 Bryden Avenue, Lewiston, ID  83501.  Or email to tshears@idahofederation.org. Deadline in Region 2 is April 20th. For more information contact Tabatha Shears at 208-790-3694 or her email (above).

In Region 3, please submit entries to Attn: Joy Husmann, CRDS – Region 3, Division of Behavioral Health, Dept. of Health & Welfare, 3402 Franklin Road, Caldwell, ID  83605.  Or email to HusmannJ@dhw.idaho.gov   Deadline is April 24th.

In Region 4, submit entries to IFFCMH, 704 N 7th, Boise, ID 83702 or e-mail to sgraci@idahofederation.org.  Deadline for entries in Region 4 is April 27th.

In Region 5, submit entries to Mindy Hoskovec, 1373 Fillmore, Twin Falls, ID  83301. Or email to mhoskovec@idahofederation.org   Deadline is April 24th.

In Region 6, submit entries to Marja Slifka, 1671 E. Elm Street, Pocatello, ID  83201. Or email to mslifka@idahofederation.org   Deadline is April 24th.

Region 7: Please call or email (below) Cindy at Idaho Federation of Families at 1-800-905-3436 for submission information. Deadline is April 24th.

For more information on any region, contact Cindy at the Federation (208) 433-8845 in the Treasure Valley, or 1-800-905-3436.  Or email at cshotton@idahofederation.org

webinar blocks

Free March Webinar


“Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health – Understanding, Meeting and Responding to Their Emotional Needs”

This webinar, presented by Leah Niezwaag, AM, LCSW, IMH-E (III) from the Children’s Home Society, will provide you with an enhanced understanding of the emotional developmental needs of infants and young children and how these needs can greatly impact future emotional awareness, relationships and functioning.  We will discuss the vital importance caregivers have in helping shape and meet young children’s emotional needs; as well as the emotional capacity that infants and young children have. We will also discuss the effects of stress on infants and young children and how best to attend and support their emotional needs during those times.  Please join us for this discussion!

This 1-hour webinar will be live on Thursday, March 19th at 10:00 AM MDT. Certificates of Attendance will be available for this live session upon email request.

Advance registration is required and a computer with internet access is needed. If you do not have speakers on your computer, you will also need a telephone to access the sound portion.

Register through Wednesday, March 18th for the live webinar:

“Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health – Understanding, Meeting and Responding to Their Emotional Needs”

The webinar will also be recorded and will be available for viewing later via our website at your convenience. However, we cannot issue Certificates of Attendance if not viewed live.

A message we received from one of our webinar participants: “I do enjoy these webinars and appreciate you folks putting them on.”

Call 208-433-8845 in the Treasure Valley or

1-800-905-3436 from all other locations for additional information.

The Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health invites you to join us for free, informal, friendly group meetings and to share experiences, provide mutual emotional support, learn about resources and enjoy the company of peers.

 Education and support groups for parents and youth meet monthly, statewide. Please call the Federation at 1-800-905-3436 to find out what is planned in your region if it is not listed below.
Region 1
March youth meeting is a poster contest for Mental Health Awareness!
Art supplies will be provided.
Thursday, March 26th
2:30 – 4:00 PM
Coeur d’Alene High School
For more information please contact Kelly Bryant at
For information on parent groups, please contact Mary Ruth Dilling atmdilling@idahofederation.org
Region 2
Contact Tabatha Shears at

Region 3
Youth Group
Saturday, March 28th
 12pm – 2pm
Weiser Public Library, 628 East 1st Street, Weiser, ID 83672
Region 4

Strengthening Families Program – Idaho City, Boise County 

The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is a 13 week family skills training program designed to increase resilience and reduce risk factors for behavioral, emotional, academic, and social problems in children 12-17 years old. The Parenting Skills sessions are designed to help parents learn to increase desired behaviors in children by using, clear communication, effective discipline, problem solving, attention & rewards and limit setting. The Teen’s Life Skills sessions are designed to help youth learn effective communication, understand their feelings, improve social and problem-solving skills, resist peer pressure, and comply with parental rules. In the Family Life Skills sessions, families engage in structured family activities, practice therapeutic child play, conduct family meetings, learn communication skills, practice effective discipline, reinforce positive behaviors in each other, and plan family activities together. 

Contact Carol Dixon at cdixon@idahofederation.org for more information
Region 4 Youth MOVE groups meet several times each month. Contact Susan Delyea at 433-8845 or email her at sdelyea@idahofederation.org
Region 5
Youth Development Group
Thursday, March 19th
4:00 – 5:00 PM
1373 Fillmore  (Twin Falls)
Contact Mindy Hoskovec at mhoskovec@idahofederation.org 

with questions or to find out about the parent groups she has scheduled.

Region 6
Parent Group on Tuesday March 31st
6:30 – 8:30 PM
We are partnering with Idaho Parents Unlimited to present a workshop:
“Is Your Child a Target of Bullying?”
The meeting will be in the conference room at the OMNI Business Center located at 275 S. 5th Avenue in Pocatello.
Please RSVP if you need childcare by contacting Marja at 208-741-2159 or Brandi at 208-342-5884.
Pocatello Youth MOVE, led by Davina Hull
Fridays at 4:00 PM in the old jail (at the corner of 5th Street and E. Clark)
Topics change frequently
Contact Marja Slifka for more information at mslifka@idahofederation.org
If your region is not listed above, please call the Federation at 1-800-905-3436 for more information.



Easter is right around the corner and coming fast… April 5th. Not a whole lot of time to find a fun and unique Easter present for your children, grandchildren, niece, nephew or even your spouse!
Your donation of $5.00 for each letter ordered will go to support the efforts of the Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (IFFCMH) to assist Idaho families and their children.
IFFCMH can help because of our special connection with the Easter Bunny.  Using our special Bunnyville Hot Line, we will contact the Easter Bunny and arrange for a personalized letter from the funny bunny himself addressed to the child (or adult) of your choice.
For a contribution of $5.00 per letter, the special letter will be sent by snail mail, or electronically to whomever you wish.
Follow the ORDER HERE link below to fill in the information we need. Also tell us about one special characteristic or personality trait of each recipient, and the Easter Bunny will mention it in the letter.
Make someone happy on Easter and help the IFFCMH. Contributions are appreciated as well as tax deductible! Order your letter today! Last day to order and still receive before Easter Sunday is March 28th.


Perhaps you don’t care to send a letter, but would still like to make a donation? Or you’d like to make an additional donation for your letter? Please go to:  DONATE

For additional information, contact Cindy at the Idaho Federation of Families at (208) 433-8845

Parent Corner

Parents Corner

A Parent’s Journey

It has been about six weeks since my son went into residential treatment.  I notice the effects of PTSD in my daily life are starting to show less and less. I see the same thing in my other three children.  Although my 14 year old is still angry – it spills out every day in small ways, he needs therapy and help that I, as his mom cannot provide. This assault on my idea of what a good mom should be capable of is a very familiar feeling to me. I am just beginning to let the ideals go. I think now it is safe to exhale. I have fought the “good fight” and a very long one with the hopes of getting my son help. We all show the scars of living with seven years of chaos and violence. But now life feels more hopeful in small measurable ways.

When I look back over the past year and a half, I see days where as a mom I was relentless in my battle to get my child help. Part of that help came from the Idaho Federation of Families. I honestly cannot remember how I stumbled on the Federation but I know that without my sometimes daily, always weekly phone calls to them, I as a mom might have crumbled, taking my whole family with me. You see it is not easy to live out adoption. The choice to adopt is far easier sometimes than living it out day to day amidst all the brokenness. My son’s broken places hurt all of us deeply and continue to do so.

But now I know where to go to get help and sometimes just someone to cheer me on.  When it became apparent in November of 2013 that my son would need a long term residential placement, I worked tirelessly to make that happen. I soon found that over and over again, I was wasting time and hope and energy on a process that always seemed to have another hidden door behind the one I just fought to open. I encountered therapist after therapist, psychiatrists with differing opinions, the school system, the psychiatric unit, the police, Medicaid and Quallis. Not to mention the formidable process of accessing the funds through EPSDT just to get approval for an ever increasing violent child that was weekly threatening people and making it clear that he was not safe and was not feeling safe.

The Federation literally came alongside our family and coached me each step of the way when I did not know where to turn or how to navigate those turns. I don’t know the future for my one son, but I do know that I can continue to fight for the appropriate care for him and help my other children feel safe from their brother.  I hope that other struggling families will gain hope and not give up when every door leads to another one. The Federation really helped us open those doors and I credit them with helping our family get through what has been a very, very hard process.

Written by an Idaho Parent




An Open Invitation and Great Opportunity for Treasure Valley Organizations!

In collaboration with the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health invites you to be a participant in this year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Region 4 Resource Fair which begins on May 2nd. The 2015 National Awareness Week theme is “Mental Health is Fundamental.”  Continuing with a holistic approach to mental health, our goal is to provide an opportunity for organizations across the health spectrum to reach hundreds of Idaho families expected to attend the resource fair.  Holistic health depends on our ability to be well, mind and body, which can be achieved through integrated care across systems.

The reason we expect so many to attend is that the fair this year is being offered in partnership with the Idaho Business League’s (IBL) interactive “Kids Fun Fest” on May 2nd at Expo Idaho in Garden City.  And although there is a fee ($50 shared 10 x 10 space, $100 for full 10 x 10 space), space is offered at a substantially reduced cost, and the number of potential visitors makes it well worth the price. We are excited to make this opportunity available and grateful to the IBL for their support.

Participants may choose to provide their own tables and, if possible, offer an interactive activity for kids and families.  Although other events are being planned in Region 4 and other regions around the state (Annual Statewide Poster Contest), this notice is specific to the Region 4 CMH Holistic Health Resource Fair in conjunction with Kids Fun Fest.

Specifics on the Fair:

-10×10 space $100 ($395 value) (shared space $50).

-Tables/chairs not included. Available for rent or companies may bring their own.

-$35 per company for electricity if needed.

-IBL to include promotion of Mental Health Awareness Week in Kids Fun Fest email blast invitations to public to database of 20K plus emails.

-IBL to include promotion of Mental Health Awareness Week in new release prior to Kids Fun Fest.

-IBL to provide event tickets for Idaho Federation’s recruited nonprofits to distribute through email, social media, newsletters, etc.

Reserve your space ASAP by registering via the link below.  The sooner we can register organizations for the fair, the sooner we can begin promotion of our participation in Kids Fun Fest.  Fee may be paid through the registration process.


 Respite Care  



Families and service providers acquainted with issues in children’s mental health frequently recognize the strong need for, and lack of, respite care providers as one of the largest gaps in service for both themselves and others.

The Idaho Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health maintains a list of respite care providers from all around the state.  Our providers have all participated in training and have been background checked.

We are searching for new respite care providers in every part of Idaho.  Do you have room in your heart to help these families?

To participate as a provider you are required to take a two hour online training and to successfully complete a background check, for which the Federation pays.  For more information or to register for the upcoming free webinar training on Saturday, March 21st at 10AM (MDT), please contact Cindy at 1-800-905-3436 or cshotton@idahofederation.org or tshears@idahofederation.org

Respite helps preserve the family unit by providing care for children with special needs on a temporary basis. It reduces stress on the entire family and provides an opportunity for families to relax. It allows more time for parents to participate in community life; and it gives parents time to rejuvenate from the daily stressors of parenting. Parents interested in obtaining respite care should discuss the opportunities with their case managers.

Quick Legislative Message of Importance

The House Education Committee will be holding a hearing this Wednesday, March 18th at 8:00 am on HB 246 to strengthen Idaho’s anti-bullying statute. Advocates wishing to testify should arrive an hour or so in advance.  Even if not testifying, attending will help to convey the importance of this bill. The bill offers more training for school staff, student safety and stronger disciplinary action. If you are unable to make it to the Capitol, consider calling committee members or sending them your feelings and stories.

The Federation supports Anti-Bullying legislation and supports this bill.  Past Federation support has included a statewide broadcast presentation during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week on bullying and producing/distributing DVDs of the program (copies available).  It is clear that kids with disabilities are the target of bullies 3X more than non-disabled kids.

Personal stories are effective for communicating the seriousness of bullying acts and those of you with stories should consider giving 3 minute testimony. The hearing will be in the Lincoln Auditorium on the Garden Level of the Statehouse. To reach members of the Education Committee, locate them at the ID Government site: http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm

More information can be found at the National Bullying Center http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

Idaho Parents Unlimited
Mid-Week Mini Conference
April 14th-16th.
Clarion Inn – Pocatello
For many years, Idaho Parents Unlimited hosted an annual conference in Boise.  We heard from parents time and time again that you wished we would bring the conference to other parts of the state to help ease the burden of travel and time away from your families.  As a result of your important feedback, we now host our conference in a different region of the state every other year.  We are tremendously excited to spend this time with you in Pocatello this year!

April 14-16, you’ll hear from terrific speakers on the topics that are most important to families who have children and youth with disabilities in Idaho. And, you’ll get a chance to share your thoughts and ideas as well during our interactive, lunchtime roundtables. There will also be a Resource Swap and much more.

Lunch and snacks are included.  Most importantly, the conference is free to families, but you must register no later than April 1st.

View the draft conference agenda here:  Conference Schedule
Register on our website today and share with others

You can also learn about sponsorship opportunities by visiting our website: Sponsorship Opportunities: Coordinate, Collaborate, Connect!

We’ll see YOU in Pocatello!

Live links for Mental Health First Aid (above):

Free Nutrition Workshop
Presented by STARR Family Behavioral Health
In Boise on March 25th 
6:00 – 7:00 PM
Click here for all the information.

Raising a Child with Serious Mental Illness Discussion

Liza Long will be at Storyfort in Boise on Thursday March 26, 2015, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Listen to writer, educator and mental health expert Liza Long when she discusses her story of raising a child with serious mental illness.

Linen Building (upstairs) 1402 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702


National Dialogue on Topics Important to Family Caregivers 
Easter Seals and the University of Illinois Family Support Research & Training Center are holding a virtual town hall through March 30th. 

Join this national online dialogue to talk about what you think is the most important topic in family support and what you think researchers should focus on over the next several years.

Help us let caregivers know about the dialogue and encourage them to share their thoughts, comment on others’ ideas, and vote for important topics.

Share information about the dialogue via Twitter through #FSNeedtoknow or #AFDíganos. Town hall-style forums will be held in both English and Spanish using IdeaScale or you can provide your ideas through a traditional comment form. 

For more information, contact:

Family Support Research & Training Center: fsrtc.ahslabs.uic.edu

Toll-free (844) 781-4158

National Dialogue website: fsrtc.ahslabs.uic.edu/research/needtoknow

Email: dialogue@easterseals.com

Wrap Workshop

The Office of Consumer & Family Affairs will be holding another WRAP® workshop in Boise.  Enter the spring season by creating your own Wellness Recovery Action Plan or referring someone who can use this very powerful recovery tool!

Who:              Anyone who wishes to develop their own WRAP® plan and participate in an experience that will change their perspective of recovery

What:            WRAP workshop with talented facilitators Larry Buttel and Steve Walker

When:           Fri. & Sat. April 10 & 11, 2015        9am-4pm on both days

Where:          Boise VA Learning Resource Center

                    500 W. Fort Street, Building 29

Why:             To form a tool box of go-to recovery resources

Light snacks will be provided; lunch is on your own

Free parking is available

Space is limited and a $20 registration is required.


Important Points About this Workshop:

–         This is NOT a WRAP facilitator training

–         You will not learn to teach others to develop a WRAP plan

–         The goal of this workshop is for you to form your own Wellness Recovery Action Plan

–         Feel free to refer clients to this training as WRAP is a highly effective recovery tool

–         Attendees will be encouraged to share personal recovery stories in a safe, confidential, and compassionate environment

–         Although sharing personal information will not be required of you, this is how you will receive the most from the workshop

See the attached flyer  

Please note this training is for ANYONE who would like to form their own WRAP to utilize as a recovery resource.  This is NOT a WRAP facilitator training.

Adoption Conference

Radically Loved @ The Pursuit is hosting a 2 day simulcast conference designed to help better understand how to connect with “children from hard places.

Empowered To Connect, together with Show Hope, featuring Dr. Karyn Purvis and Michael & Amy Monroe is ideal for:

  • adoptive and foster parents
  • those considering adoption or foster care
  • those who are serving and supporting others
  • social workers
  • agency professionals
  • church staff and ministry leaders
  • counselors
  • therapists
  • professionals working with children from hard places
No childcare available.

Please join us on April 10th and 11th at 9:45 AM! Click here  to register and receive the Early Bird Discount!

If you have any further questions please contact me or Michelle Batten at radicallyloved@thepursuit.org

2015 Idaho Fair Housing Conference

Below are the links for both the 2015 Idaho Fair Housing Conference on April 14th and the Section 3 & Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Training on April 15th.

April 14th:

April 15th: