CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has lifted a hiring freeze for the agency that runs the state’s foster care system and will offer bonuses for youth social service workers and other positions, Gov. Jim said Justice on Wednesday.
Justice also issued an executive order allowing retired employees of the Department of Health and Human Resources to return to work on a limited basis while still in full retirement.
Child protective services workers, workers in training and youth social services workers will receive $5,000 if they sign a one-year employment contract to work in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, Justice said.
People who sign up to work in those positions in 26 other counties may be eligible for a $2,500 bonus if they commit to staying with the Department of Health and Human Resources for one year.
Counties are Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Harrison, Kanawha, Lewis, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Mingo, Monongalia, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Roane, Summers, Taylor , Wayne and Webster.
Justice said the agency plans to begin coordinating with high school programs, the West Virginia community and technical college system, college-level health sciences students and others to try to recruit workers.
The announcement comes after West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch said Monday that he is retire at the end of the year. Dr. Jeffrey Coben has stepped in as Acting Secretary. Coben is associate vice president for health affairs at West Virginia University and dean of the WVU School of Public Health.
Meanwhile, DHHR is working to implement recent recommendations from a consulting firm on how to restructure the agency.
Earlier this year, the court vetoed a bill that proposed dividing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources into two departments. The McChrystal Group of Alexandria, Va., was hired to review the department and concluded that the current setup is “not an option,” but that splitting the agency would “divert time, funding, and leadership focus away from serving the people of W.V”.
McChrystal Group was awarded a contract in June to perform a comprehensive review of DHHR. The firm provided an estimated cost of $503,648 for the organizational assessment of the Department of Health and Human Resources and $578,770 to develop a strategic plan.
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