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If you haven’t yet voted, and you vote pro-life, I’m writing to ask you to please vote for Jeanette Rowsey.

In 2014, West Virginia’s system of mental health care for children was audited by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The findings from the audit showed a pattern of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by removing children with mental and behavioral problems from their families and segregating them in residential psychiatric hospitals in and out of state, rather than providing a structure of community-based mental health centers that meet the needs of children — in their homes and in their communities.

As of May 2019, the state entered into an agreement with the DOJ to improve care for 7,000 children in DHHR custody, but the agreement did not preclude Lawyers for a Better Childhood, a national advocacy group, and Disability Rights of WV from filing a lawsuit against the state on behalf of 12 children in the state’s custody. The lawsuit accuses the state of relying too heavily on temporary shelters and failing to plan for the basic needs of children in foster care, like keeping track of them. As of September 2019, there were over 791 children in DHHR’s custody classified as runaways.

Because I care deeply for the health and well-being of the children in OUR custody, I’m concerned about the lack of urgency and political will to do more than apply Band-Aids I’ve witnessed over the past six years. That’s why I’m encouraging voters of the 17th District to send Jeanette Rowsey to the House of Delegates. She is the only candidate whose platform prioritizes children’s well-being, with the professional experience to back it up.

Jeanette has a reputation for going an extra thousand miles for kids, so let’s send her 50 miles up the road to the statehouse because our kids deserve better.

Kimberly White


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