Foster care: West Virginia kids need support

West Virginia kids need support

In a report released at the end of August, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said there are 6,623 children in foster care from the state, but nearly 400 of them are being housed out-of-state, mostly in group homes or long-term psychiatric facilities.

And, according to Zeke Davis, who works for the Necco office in Logan, “There are DHHR workers who are living with children in hotels for days and even weeks.”

Necco places children in foster families, supports kids transitioning out of the system and provides other services to foster families. In Davis’s estimation, according to The Herald-Dispatch, the need for foster families is triple the number available, and the need is greatest for older kids or those with special needs.

Among the issues discussed as various groups try to tackle Appalachia’s challenges — from the substance abuse epidemic to the struggling economy — is that most of them are linked, and they all find fuel in the perception that many people have no sense of community, no feeling that they have a support network.

Families who step forward to foster children are proof that there IS still a community for these kids. There IS still support.

According to Davis, a wide range of people can qualify to foster. Single, married (same-sex or not), two people living together … as long as a person is between the ages of 21 and 65 (older folks can get a waiver from a doctor if they are physically able), and has a sufficient source of income, he or she is eligible to apply.

West Virginians often think of themselves as one big family. Thousands of kids need that family now more than ever. If you are willing and able, consider becoming part of the foster care network.