HURRICANE, WV (WOWK) – May is National Foster Care Month, and River Ridge Church in Teays Valley kicked-off the month with a “All In Foster Care Summit.”

The event, held at River Ridge Church in Teays Valley, is focused on improving the state of foster care in West Virginia. The Mountain State has the highest rate of children in foster care in the nation.

Officials say the summit acts as a platform for organizations to come together to reform the system.

“The Average Foster Family stopped fostering within a year – half of them stop. 80% of them stop in two years. So you’re seeing a complete turnover,” says Greg Clutter, director of Foster Care Initiatives and speaker at the event. “So, we’re working, first and foremost, we tend to retain those families that are in place.”

churches take a big role in this project, however anyone interested in working to better the foster care system was welcomed to attend.

National Foster Care Month highlights issues surrounding foster care across the country while also acknowledging the work of resource families, mentors, volunteers, policymakers and child welfare professionals who work to help children in foster care find permanent homes.