(Charleston) Legislation to improve the foster care system passed in the house today, but lawmakers say it’s only a first step, and they aren’t just talking about the legislative process.
Lawmakers agree West Virginia’s foster care system is stressed to the max with over seven-thousand kids in need. Del. Cindy Lavender-Bowe (D) of the 42nd District said,”Our foster care system has been in crisis for a long time…” Del. Kayla Kessinger (R) introduced House Bill 2010, which deals with the state’s foster care system. She explained the issues saying, “We’ve had DHHR testify that often their medical records are not only being lost but we’ve had children receive duplicate vaccinations.”
A bill espousing managed care passed in the house crossing party lines at 67 to 32. Though democrats still hold reservations about privatizing the health care side of the foster system
Del. Lavender-Bowe said amendments made the bill more palatable to Democrats. “We were able to add some things to that like an ombudsman who would be independently reviewing what the managed care system is doing. We also added an advisory council to be made up of advisory parents.”
But even Del. Kessigner says the bill is only a first step.”The foster care crisis goes beyond anything we can resolve in one specific bill. So one of the things we are continuing to focus on is how can we get more quality parents to want to become foster parents. One of the biggest issues we have right now is we don’t have enough homes for foster care children.”
House Bill 2010 now moves to the WV Senate for a first reading.