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Lawsuit: W.Va’s foster care system is broken and failing kids

By Erin Beck, For The Times West Virginian

CHARLESTON – Advocates filed a class action lawsuit against West Virginia officials Tuesday, alleging that while the state is quick to terminate parental rights, it doesn’t have adequate foster families and adoptive homes in which to place those children. Often, children sleep in hotel rooms, or in DHHR offices.

In turn, the state’s child welfare system is putting about 7,000 foster children at heightened risk of someday experiencing homelessness, mental health problems, incarceration and addiction, according to the lawsuit, which advocates said they planned to file at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in the Huntington Division of the U.S. District Court Southern District of West Virginia.

A Better Childhood, a national nonprofit advocacy group that wages court battles on behalf of children; Disability Rights of West Virginia, a federally-funded nonprofit; and the West Virginia law firm Shaffer and Shaffer allege that West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources has “repeatedly failed the children they are charged with protecting.” …

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