MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Teens who were housed at a behavioral treatment center in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle have been displaced following an investigation of the facility.
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), the Bureau for Social Services initiated an investigation at the Board of Child Care in Martinsburg, West Virginia on Aug. 3. As a result, new placements at the Board of Child Care were suspended by the Bureau of Social Services as of Friday.
The Board of Child Care (BCC) is a residential treatment facility for teens in state custody with behavioral issues. According to the West Virginia Child Care Association‘s (WVCCA) website, the facility has two programs, a level three and a level two. These levels refer to the three-tier foster care program model in West Virginia.
According to DHHR documents, tier three children “exhibit significant indicators of trauma/behavioral or emotional issues on the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment tool (CANS). These children present with high risk behaviors and have significant difficulty in school, home and community.”
Tier two is “the level of care to be used for children who exhibit mild to moderate levels of trauma/behavioral or emotional issues as identified through the CANS tool. These children may present with moderate risk behaviors and have moderate difficulty in school, home and community. This level includes pregnant/teen mothers and other children who have medical needs that exceed preventative care. This level will be used for all children entering care on an emergency basis.”
BCC’s level three program at Falling Waters “provides intensive residential treatment services and academic and therapeutic support to both males and females ages 12 to 21.” According to WVCCA, “The state-of-the-art, 50-bed residential facility is situated on 40 acres in Berkeley County, WV. It is enriched with an on-grounds educational center; indoor and outdoor recreational facilities that include a gymnasium, fitness room, recreation room, outdoor swimming pool, ropes course, skate park, basketball and tennis courts, baseball field; a multipurpose dining facility; chapel; administration building; and clinic building where the healthcare suite and physician’s office are located.”
The level two program at Campolina Way “provides residential treatment services and academic and therapeutic support to male and female youth, ages 12 to 21, who have co-existing mental/behavioral health and intellectual or developmental disability diagnoses.” This program serves up to 15 youth at one time.
The state is looking for places to put teens who were placed at the facility. The DHHR confirmed with 12 News that “some children have returned home or to other appropriate placements. As placements are being determined, those children who are still being cared for at the Falling Water campus are being provided additional support and supervision.”
In 2019, an employee was charged with child abuse for punching a teen in the back of the head, Herald-Mail Media reports. The DHHR also investigated the facility in 2014 after a complaint that it was unsafe for staff and the youth housed there and again in 2015 following reports of residents running away from the facility, according to The Journal. BCC was shut down for five months in 2015 until the state accepted the facility’s corrective plan.