Suzanne Higgins Published

State to Pilot Program Aimed at Helping At-Risk Teens


West Virginia is one of 10 states selected to launch a federal pilot program to keep more at-risk teenagers at home, reducing the number of children receiving services in out-of-home care facilities.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families will launch the Safe at Home West Virginia program.

The effort will provide wrap-around services and counseling to children and families around the state. The aim is the prevention of child abuse, neglect and the re-entry of children into foster care.

According to the Bureau, 4250 West Virginia children are living in foster care. Of those, 326 are housed out-of-state.

Safe at Home West Virginia is targeting children ages 12-17 who are currently in or at-risk of entering group homes.

In a statement today Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the program will enhance the state’s child welfare system’s goal of helping to create stable home environments.

Fourteen counties will participate – those include Berkeley, Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Morgan, Putnam, Roane and Wayne counties.