Inside West Virginia’s Foster Care System Where This Many Children Reside

Inside West Virginia’s Overwhelmed Foster Care SystemAs many American parents struggle with opioid addiction, the number of children put into foster care in the U.S. is steadily increasing. In West Virginia, the foster care system has been hit particularly hard; roughly 6,700 children in the state are in foster care, an increase of almost 70% […]

The first thing social workers do when a child needs to be removed from their home is to try to find a relative, like a grandparent. But if no relative will take them, they turn to a foster care agency.

According to Charlotte Barnett, a social worker with the Children’s Home Society in Charleston, on Friday afternoons she and her staff are often scrambling to find someone who will take a child, even just for the weekend.

Every spare inch of the society’s building is filled with piles of donated baby clothes, carseats and toys. Barnett trains and oversees about thirty foster families in Kanawha County. When Child Protective Services call looking for a family, Barnett is the one who picks up the phone, day and night.

“And especially the late-night ones, I’m sure that worker has been working all day to try to find a home. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

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