Burlington's Home Finding program is a state DHHR grant program, designed to promote safety, permanency, and wellbeing to children who are in need of out-of- home, family-based care. The Home Finding objective is to increase the number of homes available to move children into safe, stable and permanent homes. The target population is compiled of requests for relative/kinship placement safety screens, from recruitment of foster families desiring to become specialized and to provide a more therapeutic level of care by conducting court ordered home studies.
The Burlington Home Finding Program employs 1 full time Supervisor, 5 full time Home Finders, and 6 full time Case Aides. These workers are based in 10 DHHR county offices throughout the four state DHHR Regions. Our Home Finders are responsible for completing home studies and re-evaluations for adoptive/foster care, legal guardianship, kinship/relative care, and ICPC placements. The Case Aides are responsible for handling inquiries for home studies, making up inquiry packets, assisting the Home Finders with home visits, fingerprinting, PRIDE training orientations, inputting information to FACTS (Family and Children Tracking System), mailings, and filing. Services provided through this grant continue to be ongoing.
These past few months we have seen many changes for all the workers in Home Finding due to the Department of Health and Human Services making extensive changes in the Home Finding policy concerning the handling of relative/kinship placements. These placements now require an immediate and emergency turn-around time of five days to complete a safety screen, including multiple home visits and background clearances. The duties, roles, and priorities of the staff in Home Finding have changed, and our employees have worked hard to train and adjust.
In addition, a memo from the state in August announced that the state will begin to withdraw from the policies of providing foster care, and through Mission West Virginia, will transition this responsibility to private agencies. The DHHR will sharpen its focus on relative and kinship placements. This transition officially began September 1, 2015.