Raleigh County Delegate Pack says more should be done for children with exceptional needs

Delegate Jeffrey Pack, R-Raleigh

COOL RIDGE, WV (WOAY) – Delegate Jeffrey Pack, R-Raleigh, today said he wants to encourage the state Department of Health and Human Resources to devote more resources to providing community-based services to children with developmental or intellectual disabilities or associated disorders, rather than sending them out of state for care.

“Due to the lack of community-based services, West Virginia is failing children with exceptionalities,” Delegate Pack said. “This failure has resulted in an increasing rate of out-of-home and out of state placements, specifically for children between the ages of 12 and 17. These out-of-state placements are now costing West Virginia taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year.”

Delegate Pack, who is Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Health and Human Resources, said he would like to see the state DHHR implement programs similar to those adopted in other states that help keep these children in their communities, rather than send them out of state.

“Changes to this system would not only keep these vulnerable children in state, but also preserve and strengthen families while keeping taxpayer money in local communities,” Delegate Pack said.

One option would be to create a program similar to one pioneered in Texas that provides after-school and day habilitation services for children 12-17 to address behavioral and mental health while also teaching life skills and community engagement.

“I believe this would be a more effective use of our resources, and provide greater benefits to our children,” Delegate Pack said. “It’s a truly inclusive model to assist parents and keep children in the home while offering support services to strengthen the family dynamic.”

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