Is This the Right Path? West Virginia to Outsource their Foster Care System for Three Years

Time for another update on a previously reported location: West Virginia. We’re Robert and Kathey Raskin, and we don’t feel that outsourcing the current system is the right way to go. You can claim to have oversight when you outsource something. But the fact is, you’re not. Not only that you’re taking away jobs from hard-working Americans. It’s because you don’t have the foresight to take a proactive stance, drain the swamp, and protect Americans from 8 weeks to 80 years.

Who Are We Helping Here?

The state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) recently reported that they’re putting up for bid a three-and-a-half-year contract, beginning January 1, 2020. The estimated value will be nearly $200 million per year. Of course, as with most things, it’s subject to change if additional services need to be integrated into the program. Services provided by NECCO are independent of this contract. DHHR would continue to provide services to the Bureau for Children and Families.

Making Good on Threats

According to the Associated Press, the move is billed to help streamline care for children in state custody and adoptive families. The reason why it’s moving over to a managed care organization is because local lawmakers passed a bill requiring DHHR to transfer children in foster care to an MCO by January 2020. But they only moved forward with this because the Department of Justice threatened to sue the state over possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act within its foster system.

You’re reading this right. They only decided to pursue an MCO because they were being threatened with a lawsuit. Not once did it occur to them to take control and do something about it before it even got to that point. This lethargic approach is why we’re adamant that the problem is within the department, and the department should handle it. Bringing an outside source in is only a Band-Aid. Unless we work to clear out the disease, it’ll come back time and again.

Hear more about the West Virginia Senate Select Committee on Children and Poverty from Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Ted Boettner:

No System in Place to Track Foster Care Complaints in West Virginia

The West Virginia State Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has plans to begin soliciting applications for the state foster care ombudsman position. The incumbent’s duties include tracking foster families’ complaints about agencies they deal with here. These organizations include social service agencies, public agencies, including DHHR itself, and managed care organizations. So, the question that we – Robert and Kathleen Raskin – are asking is why wasn’t there something already in place?

There are about 7,000 kids in state custody. How were their complaints handled before? How many have fallen to the wayside because of a lack of government oversight? It’s this lackadaisical approach to caring for simple human needs has us downright fuming. People must take a stand and say something for the people who don’t have a voice. That’s what we’re doing with everything that we do here.

Transitioning to Managed Care

West Virginia lawmakers, during the 2019 legislative session, added this position as part of a bill assisting foster children to managed care. The system in place means the state pays third-party managed care organizations to not only improve the quality of health care but also reduce Medicaid costs. However, if you look at some of our previous entries, these third-party organizations need to be paid. And who pays them? The state, with your tax dollars.

At least with the new ombudsman position, people will be able to air their grievances about what’s going on. It’s tangible and trackable, and trends can be identified to focus on closely. However, this only one drop in the bucket. The entire system must be overhauled to accommodate the issues that are plaguing West Virginia right now.

Open Your Eyes to the Foster Care Crisis in West Virginia

There’s an emergency going on in your backyard. We charge the state of West Virginia to take control of the situation and protect its citizens.