Is West Virginia about to be forced into a system that values profits over kids? That’s what happened in Pennsylvania.
The real life consequences for kids in profit based systems is laid bare in a recent court case. Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 28 years in prison in a “kids for cash” scheme. He accepted cash in return for imposing longer out of home placement sentences on juveniles at for profit detention centers for 5 years, according to an NPR Article by Eyder Peralta.
The transition from foster care to a privatized system will give relatives and foster parents more access to resources, financial assistance, and local services according to Erin Beck of the Register Herald. However, the main purpose of privatized systems is to maximize profits, which means the more children they have in placement, the more money they make.
This same profit model is used with private prisons. The more prisoners they have and the longer the sentences, the more profits the investors in those private prisons make,
Dr. Jamie Schwandt, a former foster child himself, asks why a private foster care company would reunite families or work toward finalizing adoptions if the goal of the private agency is to maximize profit. In a nonprofit family reunification centered or publicly operated system, the goal is more squarely focused on reunification.
This type of a privatized system does not reflect our core values of loyalty to our families, and we shouldn’t be letting private out of state interests or agencies have a say in those relationships.
Contact Governor Jim Justice and tell him to veto this bill and send a message to those private agencies that the children of West Virginia are not for sale.
Please review the articles below for more detailed informed on the issues related to the privatizing foster care systems.