By Amelia Ferrell Knisely, The Register-Herald
BECKLEY, W.Va. — West Virginia judges are unable to resolve cases involving vulnerable children due to ongoing child welfare problems at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
The state has experienced a 50 percent increase in abuse and neglect filings since 2014. Meanwhile, only 30 percent of child protective services workers positions are filled.
West Virginia Judicial Association President Anita Harold Ashley told lawmakers in a letter Jan. 6 that current workers are overloaded with child welfare cases, and stakeholders aren’t prepared for cases. The letter was obtained from the West Virginia Senate Communications Office.
“The resulting delays slow proceedings and cause additional hardships on children and families, and in some cases, cause children and youth to languish in placement,” Harold wrote.
“Simply put, the challenges facing (DHHR) are now impacting our judges’ ability to resolve child welfare cases in a timely and efficient manner.” …