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Is West Virginia's Foster Care System Struggling Or Finding Solutions?

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On this West Virginia Morning, we look at West Virginia’s overburdened foster care system and how the U.S. Department of Justice has been working with state officials for years to try to improve conditions. Also, we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week from songwriter Sam Beam.

There are more than 400,000 children across the U.S. currently in the foster care system. Taking care of all these kids is a massive undertaking, overseen by government workers who are overworked, and agencies that are historically underfunded.

West Virginia’s foster care system has been completely overwhelmed. And while the state government points to improvements in the past several years, others argue these reforms don’t go far enough, including 12 foster care children who are now suing the state.

Jared Mitchell is one of the plaintiffs. He and others say the state still hasn’t fully reckoned with one of its biggest shortfalls when it comes to foster care – that too many kids, especially teenagers, are placed in institutional living facilities. Roxy Todd has the story.

This weekend, Mountain Stage looks back on its 33rd anniversary show back in 2016 at a performance from revered folk songwriter Sam Beam. With an ear for cinematic music, Beam, who performs and records as Iron & Wine, does "We Two Are A Moon" as our Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our Appalachia Health News project is made possible with support from CAMC and Marshall Health.

West Virginia Morning is produced with help from Glynis Board, Caitlin Tan, Jessica Lilly, Liz McCormick, Eric Douglas, Emily Allen, and Roxy Todd.

Andrea Billups is our news director. Dave Mistich is our producer.

Teresa Wills and Chuck Anziulewicz are our hosts.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning