Drugs blamed for West Virginia ‘child welfare crisis’
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources says the state is facing growing numbers of children going in foster care and a shortage of workers in child protective services.
Addressing the state Senate Finance Committee, Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples says the issue is driven by the state’s drug crisis.
Department data show 6,290 children in foster care in October, about 1,000 more than the year before and 3,000 more than three years earlier.
The department says it is “a child welfare crisis” with 83 percent of open child abuse and neglect cases involving drugs.
Samples tells lawmakers they have been unable to adequately find placements.
The department has proposed using some excess Medicaid funding to increase funding for child services.