WV child abuse lawyers earning decades-old pay - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WV child abuse lawyers earning decades-old pay

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By VICKI SMITH
Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Some of the court-appointed lawyers trying to help West Virginia judges make good decisions for abused and neglected children are earning wages last raised in the 1980s.

It's demanding and time-consuming, but at $45 an hour for out-of-court work and $65 for in-court work, some lawyers say it's basically charity work.

Court officials agree and say they'll propose legislation in February that would raise compensation to $75 and $90 an hour for attorneys paid through Public Defender Services.

But the bill has a $4.8 million price tag, so it faces challenges as legislators grapple with a massive shortfall in Medicaid funding.

A similar bill went nowhere this year.

But Lisa Tackett, director of family court services for the state Supreme Court, says it's one officials think is worth fighting for.

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