Arguably one of the most disturbing things revealed in WV news this week was the fact that there were almost 800 runaways in the foster care system during 2018.
– Although considering the current state of WV, don’t quote me on that.
State lawmakers learned on Tuesday that there were 791 runaways, and 205 were reported as long-term runaways, according to Jeff Jenkins in his article “DHHR official says foster care children runaway numbers ‘alarming.’”
According to the DHHR report, as of Sep. 12, there are currently 72 active runaways. A buzz began on Twitter amidst the news.
One person actually spoke out about their own experience as a runaway in the system, as the story began to gain traction.
There is something to her claims about an overwhelmed CPS. Take for example the following quote from an article by Brittany Patterson from WV Public Broadcasting:
“Dianna Dickins, regional supervisor for Child Protective Services in Monongalia County, said she understood frustrations with CPS. She said the agency in Monongalia County is fully-staffed for the first time in three years, however case workers still have, on average, 45 cases each at one time.”
This really exemplifies how tight recourses are for our foster care system.
The report also revealed that these numbers have been above 700 runaways since 2015, which begs the question ‘what is the DHHR (as well as other agencies and policy-workers) doing and why isn’t it working’?
It will be interesting to see what policy interventions are proposed during the winter legislation session concerning this issue and how the new MCO will handle it.