Gov. Jim Justice has approved the promised 15 percent raises for direct service employees with the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).
During Justice’s regular briefing, DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said he faced major challenges in collapsing and reorganizing 600 agency positions to find the money for the raises without jeopardizing essential services. Justice said Crouch’s effort was completed without any funding coming from the state budget.
Mounting Child Protective Service (CPS) employee vacancies have overwhelmed many county case workloads. With West Virginia CPS wages less than neighboring states, the hope is the raises will aid in worker recruiting and retention.
The governor also said the state will publish a child welfare dashboard. The dashboard was proposed during the legislative session.
A public information data dashboard to benefit foster care families was a key provision of House Bill 4434. The foster care legislation died in the last hours of the 2022 regular legislative session.
DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch said the dashboard will let people see what’s going on with child protective services programs.
“We’re going to be showing referrals, we’re going to be showing CPS placements,” Crouch said. “We’re going to give staffing and workload information, we have a long list of things that we’re interested in looking at.”
Crouch said this will be a visual, living dashboard with constant content updates, without confusing spreadsheets and always subject to change. He said it will be up on the DHHR website June 1st.