CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is in desperate need of help, according to senate leaders.

The Republican leadership of the West Virginia State Senate has written the interim director of DHHR with a variety of suggested changes. Among the recommendations is a suggestion for substantial pay increases, especially in parts of the state with a high cost of living, such as the Eastern Panhandle.

The agency is being called on to hire and retain more child protective services workers. Senate leaders say those workers are needed to take care of the state’s 7,000 children in foster care.

The senators also want to see DHHR offer more mental health services.

Senator Minority leader Steven Baldwin also sent a separate letter seeking similar changes.

DHHR reform will be one of the top issues when the annual Legislative Session gets underway on January 11.