CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia will be getting federal help to keep more at-risk kids out of institutions and in their home environments.
On Wednesday, the state Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families launched a federal pilot program called Safe at Home West Virginia. It’s aimed at kids between the ages of 12 and 17 who are in the state’s child welfare system in 14 counties.
“In many cases, these children are not delinquents or a definition of what you might define or we may have defined as delinquent. These are just children who have problems. These are children who need us,” said Karen Bowling, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Resources.
She said to answer that need they’ll be looking for ways tailor services to at-risk kids in ways that allow them to stay in their homes.
“Whether that’s with their parents or kin or foster care or even through adoption, (it’s about) how do we provide supportive services in a community-based environment which is proven to be the best approach to helping our children for the future,” Bowling said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“The Safe at Home West Virginia pilot program provides the opportunity to continue our efforts to improve and enhance our state’s child welfare system,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“By identifying ways to deliver key in-home programming for our state’s at-risk kids, we can ensure they are receiving important services in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe, which will help them become productive adults.”
West Virginia is one of ten states that will receive a federal waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families to support the Safe at Home program.
It will serve kids and families in Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Morgan, Putnam, Roane and Wayne counties.