Children

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West Virginia's Supreme Court says children cannot inherit from a biological parent's estate if that parent has no will and had their rights terminated.

Last year on Inside Appalachia we aired an episode about Grandparents raising grandchildren. Our newsroom just won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for this series, so today, we’re listening back to this important story.  

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On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn more about how children are being affected by the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to help them. 


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In perhaps an unexpected twist, historically conservative strongholds like Oklahoma and West Virginia are leading efforts to bring preschool to all.

"They have in common a low-wage workforce, relatively low education levels and the desire to change that," said Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research. "Whatever they say, politicians in West Virginia know the future of their state is not coal miners."

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Throughout the Ohio Valley and West Virginia, thousands of children are in foster care -- and the opioid epidemic is sending thousands more to join them. In fact, in just the past year, West Virginia's foster care system alone saw an increase of 1,000 children entering care.

In 2016, West Virginia Public Broadcasting spoke with the Holbens, a former-foster family in Kearneysville, Jefferson County, to shed light on the struggles the opioid epidemic brings on foster care. We now check back in with that family and explore what lies ahead in combating this crisis.

Be sure to tune in for more on this subject during our nightly television program, The Legislature Today beginning January 11, 2018.

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The analysis looked at the percentage of children with Adverse Childhood Experiences – commonly known as ACEs. West Virginia scored higher than the national average of 46 percent.


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Nimish Metha has been a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston for more than 16 years. Kara Lofton talked with Metha about what it’s like to work in the ER, what items he wouldn’t have in his own home after seeing children come into the hospital with injuries and how he’s seen the opioid epidemic impact the pediatric population.

Cathy Justice
Daniel Walker / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

First Lady Cathy Justice spoke at her first solo event Wednesday since her husband’s election. The First Lady helped recognize International Women’s Day at the Capitol, kicking off Women’s History Month.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

Of the 718 public schools in West Virginia, 129 have school-based health centers (although note that some elementary/middle or middle/high schools share a center). Just over 30 percent of those, including Riverside High School in Belle, have mental health services.

“I think it’s [the mental health services] a good thing because a lot of teenagers struggle with depression or something wrong with them - they think that - especially in adolescence, the way the brain develops and all that stuff,” said Lillian Steel-Thomas, a senior at Riverside.

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In 2013, the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice launched a program called Handle With Care. The collaborative  program is meant to help children who’ve experienced abuse, neglect or other types of trauma succeed in school. The program that started on the West Side of Charleston is now expanding across the state and in other communities across the nation.

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A new report says 97 percent of children in West Virginia are covered by health insurance.

The report by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families says West Virginia's 3 percent rate of uninsured children is among the lowest in the country.

Quick Look: Early Head Start

Dec 10, 2014

The best time to help children do well in life is during their first three years of life.   The First 1,000 Days:  Investing In WV Children When It Counts is a new documentary from WV Public Broadcasting that explores the impact of this time in a child's life. 

A new after school program in Beckley is bringing Science and Art together. The program is made possible by a grant from the Beckley Area Foundation with the help from the Benedum Foundation and West Virginia Division of Culture and History. 

Dr. Aida Jimenez is the Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics at the University of Charleston in Beckley and director of the after school program.


Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s a place in historic downtown Martinsburg that’s known to the community as… the BE-Hive. It’s spelled B-E, meaning “to be,” and “hive” meaning “home.” It’s an activity center for children, but it’s not a drop-off point. The parents have to be involved too.

Kids Count

  A private foundation says the well-being of West Virginia's children has improved over the past two decades. But there are still problem areas.

A report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks West Virginia 37th in the nation in children's well-being.

The report is based on 16 indicators, including children without health insurance and proficiency in math and reading.

Brent Boggs
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Wednesday: May 21, 2014 at 1:05 p.m.:

The State Senate has concurred with the amendment and from the House and has passed the bill. The bill now goes to Governor Tomblin and awaits his signature.

The Senate passed the bill 30-1. Sen. Herb Snyder was the lone vote against.

Original Post on Wednesday: May 21, 2014 at 12:24 p.m.:

An amendment unanimously approved by the West Virginia House of Delegates would fully restore more than $1 million in cuts to family and child service programs.

Those cuts came in March as part of a line item veto by Gov. Tomblin. Later, the governor restored about $260,000 of those cuts by taking money from a trust fund to provide future children's programs.

Daniel Walker

In Thursday’s House session, one bill on third reading and two bills mentioned in a speech dealt with the health and well-being of West Virginia’s children.

H.B. 4237 would protect the health of children from new products alternative to the traditional sources of tobacco.

These new products include electronic cigarettes and cigars and dissolving products such as toothpicks, gum and lozenges.

Aaron Payne

The Healthy Kids and Families Coalition presented 11 issues known as the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty and then hand-delivered them to legislators at the Capitol Tuesday. The group wants these issues made priority as the 60-day  session begins Wednesday.

Those 11 issues include:

1. Protect Funding for Family Support Programs

The goal is to keep Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers across the state funded.

2. In-Home Family Education Programs/Early Childhood

How will Huntington fight childhood obesity?

Oct 22, 2013
Clark Davis

The Huntington YMCA is leading the charge in one area of the battle with obesity that has been ignored in the Huntington area, childhood obesity.

  The Huntington YMCA along with Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and Cabell County Schools has developed a program called kids in motion. The new partnership will lead the brand new Kid Fit program that the YMCA and hospital officials hope is the next step in the fight against childhood obesity in the city.