CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The push continues to reform the troubled West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
Lawmakers from both parties say fixing major problems within the DHHR will be a big priority of the annual legislative session that begins next week. The leadership of both parties has written letters to the acting cabinet secretary and Governor Justice, recommending changes. The biggest concern appears to be hiring enough child protective services workers, to watch over the seven thousand children in foster care in this state.
There is some disagreement on whether the agency has just grown too large.
“It’s because it’s too big. We believe it needs to be broken up into two or three agencies with three different cabinet secretaries. and then you’ll have a better reporting mechanism into the executive,” said Senate President Craig Blair.
“You know, but having two or three dysfunctional agencies doesn’t solve the problem. I think there’s a real culture problem that needs to be addressed there. Cutting away the red tape and making it a more efficient program,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha, who is also Chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party.
In his briefing today, Governor Justice promised to work with House and Senate leaders to fix problems at DHHR as long as people don’t start to turn the issue into political grandstanding. The legislative session begins at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 11.