Roundtable Examines Opioids, Effects on Youth

The event is free and open to the public. Child care is being offered. Refreshments will be provided. Registration is encouraged online: wvkhp.eventbrite.com.

This presentation will connect West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and experts from the fields of health care, public education, child protective services and foster-kinship care for an open, honest discussion about the West Virginia’s child welfare crisis. For the second portion of the event, audience members will have an opportunity to join in the dialogue, ask questions and share their thoughts.

The roundtable will be moderated by Glynis Board, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Northern Panhandle bureau chief. It will feature representatives from the children’s health field, including Dr. Judith Romano of Wheeling Hospital, Dee Nazzaro of Wheeling Jesuit University, Jessica Watt of Ohio County Schools, Kathy Szafran of Crittenton Services, Susan Harrison of West Virginia Court-Appointed Special Advocates and Amy Gamble of National Alliance of Mental Illness-West Virginia.

From the roundtable will come a joint report on recommendations to improve the conditions and well-being of children caught in the middle of the opioid crisis. The event is one in a series of four that will be held around the state over the next two months.

“We are pleased to work with WVAHC by hosting the roundtable as part of our second annual Opioid Symposium: Providing Hope,” said Laura Albertini-Weigel, director of YWCA WIND program. “We, along with all of our other community partners hope that this discussion will not only shed light on the implications of the epidemic on one of West Virginia’s most vulnerable populations, but to also to empower our communities through a solution-focused panel. We want to keep awareness regarding the impact of addiction to West Virginian’s in the forefront of people’s minds”

As the drug epidemic continues to grip the state, the toll it takes on children increases. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the state is number one in child removal nationally. There has been a 46 percent increase of children in state custody in only three years, with a 22 percent increase in accepted abuse or neglect referrals to Child Protective Services.

According to WVDHHR, 85 percent of open child abuse or neglect cases involve drugs.