The Opioid crisis isn’t the only crisis happening across our state. Currently, there are more than 6,000 kids in West Virginia in Foster Care. Officials from the West Virginia Kids Count held a presentation at the First State Capitol today on how they are working to reverse that upward trend.
The West Virginia Kids Count is in a partnership with West Virginia and Marshall Universities to help get an accurate count for all the kids living in our state. That number is then used to produce a data book so lawmakers and officials who work closely with kids can use it to advocate for their well-being.
It’s a guide. It’s a compass. And it should be at the foundation at every child serving healthcare program, social service agency, and government entity.TRICIA KINGERY- EXEC. DIR., WV KIDS COUNT
And that’s just one reason why Kathy Szafran, Ceo at Crittenton Health Services, was the main sponsor for today’s event.
For us at Crittenton, nothing is more important than having accurate data on the well-being of children in West Virginia. Not only does it help form policies for our state, but it also helps us develop services that are necessary and to get the necessary funding based on factual information.KATHY SZAFRAN – PRES. C.E.O, CRITTENTON HEALTH SERVICES
Ohio County ranks number four in the state for places that best serve kids, but for the state as a whole, Szafran says our kids are very under-served.
We’re at a point where we have to stop and analyze our services and what truly is the well-being situation of our kids. We can’t have multiple generation of kids in crisis in West Virginia anymore. We all are responsible for making that change and making a difference.KATHY SZAFRAN – PRES. C.E.O, CRITTENTON HEALTH SERVICES
But for leaders of the West Virginia Kids Count, they focus on the hope that our children will soon be well represented throughout the state.
We can talk all day about negatives. You know-where we rank, or where we’d like to rank, but if we don’t embrace hope and become part of the change, it will not get better. So, we’re all about providing the facts, but also providing a pathway to a better life.TRICIA KINGERY- EXEC. DIR., WV KIDS COUNT
Their goal today is to teach these officials how to access the data. And in doing so provide them with the best data source for all grants at both the local and state level.
The West Virginia Kids Count is also closely partnering with the 2020 Census because it’s their number one source for data. This is the 30th anniversary for the Kids Count in our state. And to date, it is estimated to have helped bring in millions of dollars for our kids