State says no docs exist showing CPS responded to calls about Sissonville kids found locked in shed

BY: - November 28, 2023

Newly obtained documents show child protective services workers were told in August to promptly check on the children in Sissonville who were found last month living in a shed without access to running water or a toilet. However, the state health department doesn’t have documentation showing that CPS workers made contact with the children before […]

Truist Tower sits next to One Davis Square, with trees and other plants out front.

DHHR leaders say they’ll change staff vetting after multiple contract employees arrested

BY: - November 17, 2023

Leaders with the state health department said they’ll “conduct an internal review” and change their staff vetting process at William R. Sharpe, Jr., Hospital, which serves patients with disabilities, some of whom are nonverbal.  The announcement in a press release came hours after West Virginia Watch published a story revealing that multiple Sharpe staff members […]

Multiple employees at a state-run hospital have been charged with crimes this year

BY: - November 15, 2023

Standing before lawmakers, the state’s new secretary of health facilities fielded a question about the latest employee issue at William R. Sharpe Jr., Hospital: a nurse had been arrested last week and charged with murder for an incident that didn’t occur at the facility.  “Sharpe seems to be in the news all the time,” Secretary […]

DHHR faces Jan. 1 deadline to split into 3 new departments, address vacancy issues

BY: - November 13, 2023

State health department leaders, tasked with splitting the behemoth department by the start of the new year, are working to fill vacancies while also eliminating unnecessary positions.  State lawmakers earlier this year mandated that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources split into three agencies in an effort to improve department outcomes and […]

CPS investigating 68% of child abuse and neglect referrals in required timeframe, DHHR leader says

BY: - November 12, 2023

Child protective services workers are responding to around 68% of abuse and neglect referrals in the required timeframe, according to state health department leaders, revealing some children may remain in dangerous situations. The rate marks an improvement for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources after a 2018 state audit found the state’s […]

Lawmakers take November interims to Wheeling; meetings to run from Sunday to Tuesday

BY: - November 10, 2023

November is here and so is another round of legislative interims. Lawmakers will be taking the three days of meetings on the road this week, congregating in Wheeling, where they are scheduled to discuss local issues and initiatives as well as state policies. These meetings are held regularly throughout the year when the Legislature is […]

Emails still missing from former Justice admins in lawsuits over jail, foster care conditions 

BY: - November 3, 2023

On Wednesday evening, Gov. Jim Justice’s administration announced that missing evidence in a class-action lawsuit against state officials over poor conditions at a jail had been located — it was there the whole time, they said. The revelation — which resulted in the firings of two top Department of Homeland Security employees — came after […]

Mother seeks answers as son with autism trapped and injured in troubled state psychiatric hospital

BY: - November 1, 2023

Content warning: Some photos in this story may be disturbing.  Brenda Patch wants to know why her 33-year-old son with developmental disabilities and autism has been held in William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital, a psychiatric facility, for 414  days. Her son, identified in this story as JP, was marked for discharge to a community placement, […]

Justice mum on latest foster care concerns as Republicans demand change in ‘broken system’

BY: - October 30, 2023

Lawyers in a sweeping class-action lawsuit, which alleges that West Virginia is failing kids in foster care, say the state health department deleted emails related to the case. The filing follows the department’s recent failure to turn over documents showing if Child Protective Services ever checked on children who were found locked in a shed.  […]

West Virginia DHHR replaces COVID-19 dashboard with pan respiratory dashboard

BY: - October 25, 2023

The state health department has replaced its weekly COVID-19 dashboard with one that tracks all three respiratory diseases that typically have increased activity during the colder months — COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The COVID-19 dashboard ended Oct. 11 as a part of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ […]

Eastern Panhandle’s backlog of 400 child abuse, neglect referrals marks state’s troubled system

BY: - October 16, 2023

Standing in the state Senate Chamber, Berkeley County Circuit Judge Steven Redding told lawmakers that his county has a backlog of 400 abuse and neglect referrals to be investigated by child protective services. The state’s foster care crisis was evident in the Eastern Panhandle. The lack of CPS workers and delays in investigating reports of […]

The front of West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is shown between two trees.

Federal shutdown wouldn’t affect DHHR services, including food assistance, in October

BY: - September 30, 2023

As a federal government shutdown nears, West Virginia health department leaders say they won’t immediately pause federal programs, like food assistance, for low-income residents.  Congress faces a deadline of midnight on Saturday to pass a new budget before a government shutdown would ensue, furloughing millions of federal employees and putting some safety services in jeopardy.  […]