Rethink Foster Care System

Among the most heartbreaking aspects of the drug abuse epidemic in West Virginia is the effect it has on children. Many have to be taken from their parents for their own safety.

That, in turn, has resulted in a severe shortage of foster homes. Of the more than 6,000 Mountain State children in foster care, about 350 have to be housed in group homes outside the state, according to one report.

A state legislator, Delegate Jeffrey Pack, R-Raleigh, told MetroNews recently that it is time to take another look at foster care in West Virginia. He said many other lawmakers agree with him that changes are necessary.

Pack’s approach seems thoughtful. For one thing, he understands the special challenges faced by grandparents who have taken custody of children. Perhaps the state should do more to help them, Pack thinks.

He also wants to give foster parents a greater voice in how courts handle children’s cases. Foster parents, after all, may have a better understanding of boys and girls in their care than do social workers and judges.

Pack’s idea would be good even if the substance abuse crisis was not a consideration. The fact that it is makes his idea one fellow legislators should not allow to fall through the cracks during their annual regular session.


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