ROMNEY, W.Va. — State DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling has approved a six-month provisional license for the Potomac Center in Hampshire County.

Bowling said the license will allow the center to open cottages and house 8 children between the ages of 5 and 21 because the center has undertaken a corrective action plan.

“Over the course of three months, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has worked with the Potomac Center to ensure they meet all the criteria for licensure and have appropriate guidelines in place to provide a safe environment for the residents,” Bowling said in a release. “I appreciate the county judges, prosecutors, and behavioral health providers that have truly partnered with DHHR throughout this process.”

There was a controversy at the center that first surfaced back in January. Two dozen children were moved to other sites after managers reported physical and sexual abuse to state officials.

Mark Drennan, the executive director of the West Virginia Behavioral Health Care Providers Association, told MetroNews in February a small number of workers were directly involved in or had knowledge of three incidents, that he knew of, and three had been fired.  Photos of kids in “demeaning” positions, he said, were sent to others via Snapchat, a social media app service that automatically deletes any sent photos once they’re viewed.

Secretary Bowling said Tuesday the DHHR would be on-site frequently in the months for random safety checks and to make sure procedures are being followed.

The Potomac Center is a program for children who have developmental disabilities and behavioral issues.

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  • Get your facts right

    First off DS people get a lawyer not because they are guilty but to prove their innocence. KH failed to report a snapchat. He addressed it with the staff and told them to stop. He admitted he was wrong. The other stuff is ridiculous and you know it. Just cause you did what you did (JW) don't blame others. You are the snake and didn't get your way.

    • Jason412

      Get your facts right,

      Are you the Potomac centers PR rep paid to roam message boards and try to guess the initials of supposed ex-employees speaking out against the management or are you one of the people that is being spoke out against?

  • Mother Jones

    DS, remember that criminal and civil proceedings happen independent of one another.

    Just because the Greens have filed a lawsuit it does not mean the criminal charges are going away.

    If anything it doubles the punishment on the wrongdoers which is a good thing.

    Also, many times civil suits succeed when the criminal justice system fails. O.J. Simpson is a good example. He was found not guilty of murder but then got cleaned out by a civil suit.

    Please don't think that the Greens have stopped looking out for their son's best interests.

    I have no doubt these despicable acts have devastated the family.

    Also keep in mind that money won in a lawsuit will go towards ensuring their son's care in the future.

    Every parent I know who has a child with a disability would love to have the money necessary to create a wonderful placement that is cutting edge and safe for their child rather than having to depend on a residential provider for these things.

  • The Little Mermaid

    I am glad the needed services are able to be given again. I'm sad that so few cost so much to so many.

  • Mother Jones

    While I'm at it I can tell you that a lot of us would like to see the news media do a truly in-depth, investigative report on what is occurring rather than a superficial, "just the facts" piece that comes nowhere close to quality journalism.

    You have our email addresses.

    You know how to find us.

  • Fact Corrector

    LOL. You are so clever. Everyone knows who you are.

  • sad day

    What a sad day. Problem is still there. DHHR stated 2 of the employees could not go back to work, so the UPPER MANAGEMENT is trying to have them work from home. The 2 employees are certified CPI instructors. There is a lot of smoke being blown at DHHR and they fell for it. Such a sad day. Also the CEO does not have the right education to be in that position. He has been there from day 1 and has no clue about the houses. WAKE UP DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling.

    • Mother Jones

      It's not WVDHHR that needs to wake up it's the Potomac Center Board of Directors.

      Rick and Kim have told the board that they are the victims of a witch hunt by WVDHHR.

      Sadly, the majority of the board have bought the lie hook, line and sinker.

      One important thing that's being overlooked is that this is the second time that WVDHHR has had to take significant corrective action against Potomac Center for issues of abuse.

      The first time was 3 or so years ago.

      Potomac Center has a lot of leverage over the state.

      There are 52 licensed beds (ICF/MR) for adolescents in the state and PC has 38 of them.

      • Just the Facts

        This is so true.

  • Just the Facts

    This is so disappointing. The changes that need to be made have not been made. The same management team is still in place that hasn't a clue to what is going on except that the money is coming in. Rick Harshbarger, Chief Executive Office, •Kim Helmstetter, Chief Operating Officer, •Patty Plummer, Chief Financial Officer, •Karen Fisher, Human Resources Officer, and their puppet on a string •Robyn Vandevander, Program Manager, ICF/MR. This group of "Upper Level Management" are only concerned with keeping the jobs they are not qualified for with the salaries that do not match the level of education and experience each bring to the table. People need to wake up and realize that the only way to fix the problem is to replace what is broken. It is a sad day for Hampshire County and the kids that will be returning for round two. And to make thing even worst their Behavior Specialist has resigned because they don't support the Center reopening. The State needs to open their eyes.

    • Fact Corrector

      A little bitter there aren't we cm? People with high level degrees like yours should be above such pettiness. You do have a lot of time on your hands though.

      • Just the Facts

        Fact Corrector I don't know who CM is but it is not them. Must be another causality of the Potomac Center's use and abuse of staff.

        • Fact Corrector

          Or simply one that was let go for just cause that's now just a bitter, disgruntled troll on an internet message board.

          • Just the Facts

            Wrong again:-) I'm just a well educated Hampshire county resident that knows right from wrong. Way to smart to work for a place like that. You in turn must be in training for Upper Management at the Potomac Center.