WV Names Ombudsman for Overwhelmed Foster Care System

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has appointed an ombudsman for its overwhelmed foster care system.

The state health department announced Monday that Pamela M. Woodman-Kaehler has been named to the newly-created position. Her job will be to investigate complaints and collect data about the state’s foster care system.

The number of children under state foster care has swelled to about 6,900, up more than 60% from 2015, as the state continues to be ravaged by the national opioid crisis.

Woodman-Kaehler has been a child protective services worker in Harrison County and was the state coordinator for a federally-mandated review panel of the state’s Bureau of Children and Families. She’s also a certified foster parent and has trained people to become foster parents.

Lawmakers earlier this year approved a proposal to create the position.