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Failure: Child care facility’s problems must be fixed

We’ve got a problem here in West Virginia when it comes to doing the best we can for the young people who find themselves in the state’s care. A spotlight was shone on that problem earlier this month when teens being housed at a Board of Child Care facility in the eastern panhandle were displaced following an investigation, WBOY reported.

Department of Health and Human Resources officials from the Bureau of Social Services started the investigation of the facility in Martinsburg on Aug. 3. New placements at the Board of Child Care were suspended by the BSS on Aug. 5.

These facilities are for children in state custody who have behavioral issues, some of them severe. Now the state has to find a new place for some of them.

Details of the current investigation are scarce, but in 2019, an employee of the facility was charged with child abuse for punching a teen in the back of the head, according to a Herald-Mail Media report. In 2014, DHHR investigated after complaints the facility was unsafe for staff and those housed there. In 2015, there was another investigation after reports of youth running away. The Board of Child Care was shut down for five months back then, until the state accepted its corrective plan, according to a report by The Journal in Martinsburg.

In fact, it seems to have been a rocky road for this facility, which is intended to help smooth out the road for vulnerable, struggling children, often they have already suffered plenty of trauma.

If state officials can’t get to the bottom of what is rotten at this facility, they must take drastic measures to fix the problem, immediately. As it is, the facility appears to be failing its mission and failing West Virginia kids. That must not be tolerated.

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