West Virginia

Department of Health, Department of Health Facilities, and Department of Human Services

Department of Health
Department of Health Facilities
Department of Human Services

Foster Care Coalition Launches Statewide Recruitment Campaign to Address Foster Parent Shortage


The West Virginia Department of Human Services (DoHS), along with Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, Mission West Virginia, and ten foster care agencies have joined in collaboration to launch a statewide campaign focused on recruiting foster parents and addressing the shortage of foster care placements in West Virginia.

The campaign’s message targets single and married adults who have considered opening their home for foster care in the past but have not taken action to become qualified. Research indicates that it is common for individuals to consider fostering for months or even years before taking action.

“This initiative aims to demystify the journey of becoming a foster family in West Virginia,” said Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Human Services. “By shedding light on the process, we empower families to better understand and navigate it. Expanding our state’s pool of available foster parents will positively impact the children in need of stable, secure homes, and in turn, impact the future of our entire state.”

With many West Virginia children in need of safe and secure foster care placement, the campaign highlights the urgency of the issue as well as the crucial role that foster parents play in their communities and the state as a whole. In order to encourage potential foster parents to take the next step on their foster care journey, the campaign promotes wefosterwv.org as a central resource that outlines the steps to become qualified, addresses common misconceptions about foster care, and features stories and quotes from foster care parents. 

“‘If you’ve ever considered fostering, West Virginia needs you now.’ That’s the message we want to communicate to people,” said Rachel Kinder, Mission West Virginia Executive Director. “We know people can be intimidated by the thought of fostering, frequently worrying that they don’t have enough resources or the right personality to open their home to a child or teen.”

Mission West Virginia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting foster families, providing life skills education, and creating community connections is serving as the campaign hub to support interested individuals and connect the ten agencies to the recruitment database.

“Increasing the number of foster parents is critical to strengthening communities and healthy futures for West Virginians,” said Kathy Szafran, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia Executive Director. “That’s why we’re proud to be supporting this collective effort.” 

This unprecedented statewide effort to recruit foster care parents is funded by Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, whose investment ensures the campaign will reach statewide audiences, including those in less populated rural areas that are most in need of foster care placements.

For career opportunities available within DoHS’s Bureau for Social Services (BSS), visit dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities---Social-Services-and-Health-Facilities.aspx.

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