New law to help foster families important for West Virginia


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — A safe and secure home for thousands of West Virginia children has been an ongoing challenge in the Mountain State. But an eastern panhandle legislator is helping to address the need for safe and secure families for these kids.

West Virginia children without a home need a champion. Thanks to a Berkeley County Delegate, they have one.

Says Republican Delegate Jason Barrett, “We have over seven thousand children in foster care in West Virginia and over 2,800 of those with no permanent housing so the agencies like Children’s Home Society are true advocates.”

The Children’s Home is one of the many partner agencies working to place kids in a loving and stable home. Whether it be because of domestic violence, substance abuse, financial insecurity, – – -foster care is a major concern to West Virginia social services professionals.

Says Amanda Shank with the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, “we have more children in out-of-home home placement than most states in the country.”

The problem is serious enough that many children in need of homes are placed in emergency shelters or so-called “residential settings.” But Delegate Barrett says the desperate need for foster homes must be addressed from the perspective of a dangerous epidemic across West Virginia.

“The substance abuse problem in West Virginia certainly creates an environment in a lot of households that lead to children being placed in foster care,” Delegate Barrett explains.

Delegate Barrett’s bill helps foster parents have additional financial security to help provide a safe, stable, and loving home for these kids. And the Children’s Home Society believes that Delegate Barrett’s bill will provide more permanency for West Virginia children. The Society maintains 10 emergency shelters statewide with staff on-call around the clock.

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