image description

West Virginia’s Foster Care System Loses Top Official

June 16th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia is losing another top official from its foster care system.  On Wednesday it was announced that Jeffrey Pack will be leaving as the commissioner of the Bureau of Social Services, a position he's held for nearly three years.  Pack will replace Denise Worley as the commissioner of the Bureau of Senior Services.  

Pamela Woodman-Kaehler, director of the foster care system’s ombudsman office, announced her resignation last month.

While at the head of Bureau of Social Services, Pack was tasked with administering the heavily burdened foster care system in the state.  He implemented a foster care dashboard in 2022.  

West Virginia has the most overdose deaths per capita of any state, and the state also has the highest rate of children in foster care — currently more than 6,000 in a state of around 1.8 million.

The state is facing a massive ongoing class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of foster care children in 2019. The suit alleged that children’s needs were going unmet because of a shortage of caseworkers, an overreliance on institutionalization and a lack of mental health support.