CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia is still trying to find good homes for hard-to-place foster kids, but until then, alternate housing is being used for some. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle are upset about this, but there is no solution, just yet.
West Virginia has 6,357 children in the foster care system, and many still don’t have a permanent home. When Democrats in the legislature asked the governor to call a special session to deal with this, we found out that some of the older foster kids, including teenagers, were being housed in hotels, motels and facilities such as Camp Virgil Tate. No children are presently at Camp Virgil Tate, according to the Department of Human Resources. Officials with the camp say the only time they had foster kids staying there was a short four-five day period over the Easter holiday.
As of today, the governor says 25 foster kids are currently in hotels, but he and Democrats agree that is 25 too many.
“I wanted to – we wanted to – bring this to the governor’s attention and bring it to the Republican super majority’s attention. It should be front and center,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha and State Party Chair.
“We found that there is currently 25 kids that are either in hotels or Camp Virgil Tate or wherever it may be, statewide, you know. And it’s not hundreds, but it is 25. And one is too many,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
The governor said today that part of the solution will be raising the monthly stipend families get when they agree to foster the children. There have also been efforts to raise the pay of CPS, or Child Protective Services workers, so more can be hired. They are the front-line workers charged with protecting foster children.
The governor has not made a final decision on the special session request.
And WOWK 13 News has spoken with the executive director of the West Virginia Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Families Network. She, too, says this issue needs to be resolved soon and that hotels are not proper homes for foster kids.