DHHR finds benefits in launching online foster care dashboard

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – It’s been more than a month since the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources launched an online dashboard to track trends within the state’s foster care system and officials say it has been helpful in their work so far.

Jeffrey Pack

“It’s a one-stop source of information where I can go and get something quickly if I need to know about staffing in a particular county or how many children we’ve cared for from the point of placement view, so it’s very beneficial for that,” Jeffrey said. Pack, commissioner of the DHHR Office of Social Services.

As of this week, there are currently 6,597 children in the child welfare system in West Virginia.

Pack said the dashboard is updated monthly with different trends such as ages and where children are placed.

“It’s an attempt to provide information for people who want to know how many children are in care, what type of placement they’re in, workforce data and things of that nature,” did he declare.

About a third of adoptive children in the state are teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the scorecard.

Pack said that’s why they still need adoptive parents.

“We need families who are willing to take in older children for whom it is sometimes difficult to find a placement,” he said.

Finding homes for these children is not an easy task, Pack said. Although DHHR does not comment on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could lead to an influx of foster children, Pack told MetroNews that there are circumstances where children need to be placed in hotels for a short time until they can find them a home. good home.

“If we get custody of a child, especially if it’s overnight and no placement is identified immediately, it requires two of our employees, working shifts, to house the child in a hotel. until a suitable placement can be found and usually that is within a day or two,” he said.

Pack said it’s important to note that not all foster children are in the system due to abuse or neglect.

“It’s not the only way children come into our custody,” he said. “Sometimes they are taken into our custody through the juvenile justice system for legal issues that they have engaged in.”

The scorecard was part of a sweeping foster care bill that was considered by the state legislature earlier this year. This bill ultimately did not pass, but Governor Jim Justice’s administration went ahead with this version.

Comments are closed.