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Drug crisis, pandemic fueling surge in West Virginia’s abuse-and-neglect cases

Attorneys estimate less than 20% success rate in reuniting kids with parents

By Matt Harvey, WV News

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia, “Almost Heaven” in so many ways, is struggling to contain one blight upon its land: The growing number of cases involving children who have been abused and/or neglected.

The Mountain State had 5,235 of these cases in its circuit courts in 2020. There were 5,975 in 2019; 5,659 in 2018 and 5,770 in 2017. All of those numbers were well above the 3,391 in 2011 or 3,561 in 2012.

To put that into perspective, West Virginia had about 65 abuse-and-neglect cases per county 10 years ago; that’s up to about 95 per county now — an increase of 30 a year per county. And many of these cases involve more than one child.

Veteran Harrison County Chief Judge Thomas A. Bedell has said abuse-and-neglect cases comprise 80%-85% of the docket in his circuit, and there’s no let-up in sight…

To read more: https://www.wvnews.com/news/wvnews/drug-crisis-pandemic-fueling-surge-in-west-virginias-abuse-and-neglect-cases/article_a2e1d104-eee2-11eb-b48b-27b2c8ded99f.html

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