The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Social Services emphasizes the need for certified foster families for older youth. In West Virginia, nearly half of youth entering foster care are 9 – 17 years old. Twenty-seven percent of those children are between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
“Many youth in the 13-17 range can thrive in a home environment, and it is important that there is a sufficient number of certified foster families and kinship caregivers willing to open their homes to older youth,” said Cammie Chapman, DHHR’s deputy secretary for child and adult services.
For the first quarter of 2023, there were on average 1,427 certified foster homes in West Virginia. Only 25% of these homes reported a willingness to accept youth ages 13 or older.
“The primary purpose of foster care is to reunite the child with their family by providing interventions whenever safely possible,” said Chapman. “Individuals can make an impact by providing stable housing and resources for children and families as they work toward reunification.”
Mission West Virginia is the first point of contact for individuals interested in becoming a West Virginia foster parent, and also works with child placing agencies to facilitate matches between families and children in West Virginia. To learn more about foster care and relative/kinship care certification and resources, contact Mission West Virginia at www.missionwv.org or 1-866-CALL-MWV (1-866-225-5698).
To view and apply for careers in the child welfare field, visit dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities.aspx. Individuals currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s social work program may receive tuition assistance. For more information, email DHHREAP@wv.gov or call 304-558-6700.