Social services staff will still see raises, secretary says | Health & Fitness

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The secretary of West Virginia’s social services agency said Thursday that he intends for employees in the state’s foster care system to get 15% raises, after lawmakers essentially scrapped a bill to provide the raises.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said the agency will collapse open positions to provide much-needed pay raises for child protective services employees.

“Our intent is to fund these increases,” Crouch said, during a Senate Finance Committee meeting. “These staff are very important to what we do. This is one of the toughest jobs in government and recruitment and retention are very difficult.”

The statement came after a letter from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice read during Thursday’s meeting that gave Crouch permission to eliminate vacant positions to provide raises.

“The governor wants these positions funded,” Crouch said.

In West Virginia, more than 6,000 children are in state care and there is a 30% statewide vacancy rate for foster care employees, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Resources. Just over 10 years ago, just over 4,000 youth were in foster care in West Virginia, according to data compiled by the Chronicle of Social Change.

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