CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The list of issues found within Child Protective Services, which provides help to kids who are neglected or abused in West Virginia, is long.

A legislative audit focused on CPS, which is part of the Bureau for Children and Families in the state Department of Health and Human Resources, was detailed at the State Capitol earlier this week during August interims for lawmakers.

The report found a high staff turnover, delays in investigations, shortfalls in recruiting and retaining workers and little willingness to change.

“I was appalled by it,” Senator Donald Cookman (D-Hampshire, 15) said of the audit’s findings.  Before retiring, he spent a lot of time on child neglect and abuses cases as a judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit comprised of Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties.

“It’s not really flashy and doesn’t attract some people, but it is so important and it takes up the majority of any circuit judge’s time who deals with abuse and neglect.”

At times in recent years, the audit found West Virginia has lead the nation in child deaths tied to abuse.

When cases are reported, those with CPS have 14 days to respond.  That window closes to 72 hours if a child is believed to be in danger.  However, the audit found in 2011 those minimum thresholds were routinely not met across West Virginia.

Cookman said the CPS workers should not shoulder the blame for that.  He said they’re doing one of the most difficult jobs in the state.

“They’re underpaid.  They’re overworked,” he said.  “I can’t imagine going to the places that they go to and trying to work with the families and, then when they have to take the child out of the home, what they have to go through there.”

Susan Hage, the interim commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families, told lawmakers Wednesday the report is being taken seriously and changes are already being made based on its 14 recommendations.

One of those recommendations deals with the creation of a centralized intake system so cases of abuse and neglect can be better monitored.

The CPS review is a component of a larger review of the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

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Comments

  • candy

    I have read every post I am the opposite of most of you.I live in Jefferson County and cps came to visit my come due to theres was complaints that the mother of the children were leaving her 12 yr old to watch a 4yr old all night most every night while mom went to see boyfriend even when child was sick..oldest child was going to neighbors sayi g she was scared can they please to her and her sister to where mom was. When cps went to the home to visit first thing cps said I dont want ur babies all I wanna do is vlose this case I duno y cps was called its okay if u leave ur kids over nigjt as long as ur 12yr old has cell phone its even okay to leave her alone if u wanna go have a beer.as long as she can call 911 It now okay to walk out and leave ur 12 yr old immature child to watch a ur lil ones..seems there s no age limit in in Wv.to how old a kid can be to wastch another child
    I couldn t believe what I was hearing .

    .

  • micky

    I think if everyone stands together that has had there childern taken there could be something done about it cause if they take your children you can't get them back unless you say what they want you to and that makes you look bad and they just do this for the money and that is it i really think everyone should stand together plus here is something i have learned all the lawyers are friends with the cps workers that means they do what the workers say they really aren't out to help the parents and they will lie to you and if you say anything they will twist it around to make you look bad we have the biggest problem in wetzel county wv about cps taking childern and no one seems to want to fight them they all seems to be afraid of them something needs done really they do

  • micky

    http://www.wetzelchronicle.com/page/mboard.detail/fNav/109.html. here is a link about wetzel county cps there needs something done now

  • micky

    I find that in wetzel county wv there are a lot of cps cases and if they take your kids you need to say it happened and you failed to protect your children. and maybe you get your childern back and all the lawyers and cps works and judges are friends and they work together and if you want to do the right thing like take your children to a doctor you are not a good parent and if you don't your not a good parent and there are some lawyers that will not help you if you are not retarded. yea and they believe you need to believe adults over the childern when the adults are mentally unstable anyhow there needs something done about this stuff and they also turn your children against you

  • Kerri

    I've been fighting for 7 years. Spend more time in court rooms and counseling and In home services than I do anywhere else. Wonder how much money they are making off my kids! I'm not a perfect mom but I've never been accused of harming my child. Why are we still in court 7 years later?

    • micky

      Cps are very dirty people and they lie and use everything they can against you i think if everyone stands together we can get something done about them where i live they take kids from good homes and good parents to make money

  • Kay

    Not to speak of the fact that they kidnap kids from good families!

    • micky

      http://www.wetzelchronicle.com/page/mboard.detail/fNav/109.html

  • Linda Butch

    There's a very important issue being ignored here. How many of the children's cases of abuse or death happened while they were in the custody of the state while Child Protective services were supposed to be "protecting" them? Simply assuming that the number of deaths occured after Child Services had been notified does not mean the children died due to abuse in their homes.

  • me in huntington wv

    My child was placed with cps then my wrkr put them at a reg sex offendrs res hows that

  • Aaron

    The system is broken. How can CPS be effective when 80% of reports they have to investigate are false allegations made for reasons of revenge or people who report everything because their job mandates it (police, teachers, ect) by penalty of law. An article I read recently said that after reviewing cases where children were removed from homes 60% should have never been removed. Another waste of CPS' and the courts time but what's worse is the undue stress placed upon the children and parents. A 2 week period of stress on small children has been shown to shorten their life span considerably. It's a policy problem. Allow reporters to be sued and/or procecuted in cases where false allegations are obvious and take away the mandate for certain occupations to report. These professionals will still report abuse without the mandate but in a more honest way instead of reporting every dirty house or small thing that COULD be a sign of abuse they see for fear of procecution if they don't report it. These things mentioned above would free up loads of money and time to help the kids who actually need it.

  • cj

    Having worked in CPS in another state for a number of years, I understand many of the problems that come up in investigations. Underpaid, yes. Understaffed, yes. Overworked, yes. Underappreicated, Yes, Yes! We do the best we can. I didn't understand however, that there is a 14 day response time. A lot can happen in 14 days. Having a centralized intake center is a big help to the process but one staff per county won't be enough. It needs to be 24/7 but being centralized means it can be anywhere in the state. Phone calls, faxes, emails, all are ways of getting the information to CPS. (and APS for that matter.) Good luck.

  • DWL

    No!?!?! I’m shocked! Right!

    A liberal program, run by liberal operatives, overseen by even more liberal idiots! It has all the right ingredients to fail – Sorry, work. (LOL) This is a rehash of a known internal issue of a 36 year old problem. Ready - aim – throw more good tax money after bad tax money. Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results – defining liberals for a lifetime.

  • STEVE

    where's the new state of the art high paid secretary of dhhr in this? She has her hands full as there are many issues facing the agency from poor management in the local offices to the ridiculous policy coming from the top,,,,I believe that the top has little knowledge of even what goes on at the local levels and the field for that matter......

  • steve

    Blame Washington --now how much money are we sending to Irag, Syria, Mexico, Africa, China, Russia etc????????????????

  • Bob

    There are other units such as youth services that are even lower paid, so low that you have to have a second job to be able to care for your family. You have such a high turn around, and lower quality of workers because they live in poverty themselves for the amount of education they have. Raise the pay and increase the standards that supervisors are held to and you will fix these problems.

  • JD

    Wanna hear lack of funding..Most DHHR Workers have only had one raise in the last 3-4 years except the Cabinet Secretary whos salary went up a whopping $90,000.00 within this last year. And no, that is not a typo.