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Idaho celebrates "KinCare" families across the state

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Jul 19 2013 07:04:50 PM CDT

More than 28,000 children in Idaho live with their grandparents or other relatives.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

More than 28,000 children in Idaho live with their grandparents or other relatives.

It's called "KinCare."

Friday, Governor Butch Otter proclaimed July 19th as "Idaho KinCare Family Day" to recognize and celebrate the contributions of these caregiving relatives.

Chet and Lydia Mechling have raised 7 kids together over the 60 years they've been married. 

Now they're raising one more. 

"I just couldn't stand the thought of that little baby coming into the world and growing up and knowing that her family didn't want her or wasn't able to take her,' said Lydia. "We were able to take her, so we did."

The Mechlings have been raising their great-granddaughter, Kennedy, since she was two months old. She's almost 8 now and they said they wouldn't have it any other way.

"I think it's so important if people are able to take a step back and breathe and realize that they can make such a difference in the life of a child," said Lydia.

Kincare essentially keeps children connected to their family when parents can't care for them. 

"She doesn't know a lot about the background and we don't want her to," said Lydia. "We just want her to be a happy little girl and she is. She's just very bubbly and happy."

The Mechlings said many people ask about their age and ability to care for an energetic 7-year-old. 

They said it takes a lot of love and prayer. 

KinCare can help with medical, monetary, and legal needs for caregivers and offers support and educational groups as well.

Two of the most common reasons children go into KinCare are parents in jail and substance abuse.

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