West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch today announced the appointment of Pamela M. Woodman-Kaehler as the Foster Care Ombudsman for West Virginia, effective October 28, 2019. She is the first to be appointed to this new position, which was created by House Bill 2010 during the 2019 legislative session to advocate for the rights of foster children and foster parents.
Woodman-Kaehler’s first priority will be to develop policies and procedures to implement a successful Foster Care Ombudsman Program within the Office of Inspector General, which provides autonomous, independent and neutral oversight of DHHR’s programs and operations. As the Foster Care Ombudsman, she will investigate complaints against service providers and managed care organizations, as well as establish a system for collection and analysis of data and complaints.
“Pamela brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important role,” said Secretary Crouch. “Her personal and professional history in child welfare has equipped her to be a strong advocate for West Virginia’s foster children and parents.”
Woodman-Kaehler has served as a Child Protective Services Worker in DHHR’s Harrison County office and as the executive director of medical equipment and supply companies in West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In addition to her past role as the state coordinator for the federally mandated Citizen Review Panel for DHHR’s Bureau of Children and Families, she is a DHHR certified foster/adoptive parent and has trained individuals seeking to become certified foster/adoptive parents.
Woodman-Kaehler holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Winona State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in social work from West Virginia University. She also completed training in rehabilitation administration at DePaul University.