CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A group of West Virginia senators is asking the new head of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and the Bureau for Social Services to consider several changes to the state’s child welfare policies.

The letter, sent by Senate President Craig Blair, Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Eric J. Tarr, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles S. Trump IV, asks the new DHHR head, Interim Secretary Dr. Jeff Coben, to consider the following changes:

  • CPS and Child Welfare Policy
    • Increase regional pay differential via locality pay to properly compete with Virginia and Maryland in the Eastern Panhandle.
    • Ensure transparency with child welfare issues.
    • Reallocate vacant personnel service funding to starting salaries for CPS workers.
    • In the long term, change many things about the way the DHHR conducts CPS investigations.
  • Addressing out-of-state or “inappropriate” foster care placements.
  • Long-term changes to the DHHR’s regulations and policies regarding staffing, the “No Eject, No Reject Policy,” limited liability, and more.

The letter concludes, “As we hope you realize, West Virginia’s children and families have suffered from critical failures in the agency you now lead. A lot of work has gone into fixing these problems, but we must have outcomes. We are pleased the Administration has joined the Legislature in realizing the status quo cannot continue and we look forward to working collaboratively on solutions moving forward.”

Click here to read the letter.