WV DoHS Commemorates National Foster Care Month

The West Virginia Dep. of Human Services (DoHS) is joining partners across the state and nationwide in commemorating National Foster Care Month by honoring the individuals and organizations dedicated to supporting children and youth in foster care.
Gov. Jim Justice also proclaimed May as Foster Care Month in West Virginia.
“Not just this month, but each and every day, we recognize the crucial role of foster parents and the dedicated efforts of our DoHS staff and community partners in providing safe and nurturing environments for West Virginia’s youth,” said Jeff Pack, Bureau for Social Services commissioner.
“We are grateful for everyone who supports our mission to safeguard child safety, promote permanency, and enhance the well-being of children through foster care and adoption.”
The primary objective of foster care is to facilitate reunification with the child’s family by implementing interventions aimed at safe reunification whenever possible.
Research shows that children do best when placed with kin. West Virginia leads the country in the percentage of all foster children, including juvenile justice-involved youth, placed in kinship care. 
“Despite prevailing misconceptions about our foster care system, the reality is that West Virginia boasts one of the highest performing child welfare systems in the country,” said Cynthia Persily, secretary of the Dept. of Human Services.
“Our exceptional rates of kinship placement are a testament to the culture of West Virginians, who wholeheartedly champion their families and the well-being of our children.”
While most of West Virginia’s children in state custody are in family settings, there are about 250 youth up to age 21 who are currently in need of a foster home, according to the latest data from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia’s discharge planning tracking system. The greatest discharge barrier for youth is finding a home for placement.
Earlier this year, DoHS along with Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, Mission West Virginia and 10 foster care agencies joined in collaboration to launch a statewide campaign focused on recruiting foster parents and addressing the shortage of foster care placements in West Virginia.
The campaign promotes as a central resource for potential foster parents to take the next step in their foster care journey.