CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In October 2015, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Children and Families (BCF) launched phase one of an innovative pilot project to reduce the State’s reliance on in-state and out-of-state group care for youth ages 12-17 in 11 counties. Since then, BCF has referred 58 youths to Safe at Home West Virginia. Of those, four have returned to the state; five have moved from in-state residential placements back to their home communities; and eight have been prevented from entering residential placement.
“The wraparound services and individualized supports provided through Safe at Home are allowing children and their families the opportunity to live safe, healthy and successful lives right here in West Virginia,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling. “I am proud of the impact this initiative is making in the lives of our youth with the support of our many partners. We will continue to diligently monitor feedback and progress in preparation for a statewide expansion.”
Counties in the phase one area include: Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Morgan, Putnam and Wayne. Youth involved in Safe at Home are being served through the wraparound model, a planning process that helps ensure youth grow up in their homes and communities when safely possible. With help from a wraparound facilitator, key players in the child or youth’s family work together, coordinate activities, and blend perspectives of the family’s situation.
DHHR is currently preparing for the next phase of the project, expected to launch in summer of 2016. BCF is working to educate staff and partners in the phase two areas with continued informational meetings and trainings. Phase two includes 24 counties: Barbour, Brooke, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Ohio, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker and Upshur.
The long-term goal of Safe at Home West Virginia is to serve 12-17 year olds and their families in all 55 counties over the course of the next two years, providing wraparound services to children, family members, caregivers and foster parents to support developing and maintaining a stable and loving environment.
Online at: www.dhhr.wv.gov