West Virginia has nearly 7,000 children in foster care. This is the highest per capita rate in the United States. For every 1,000 babies born in West Virginia, nearly 25 are removed due to neglect or other mistreatment. This is more than three times the national average. In response to this foster care crisis and needs, Chestnut Mountain Ranch has launched Chestnut Mountain Village (“The Village”).
Outcomes for children in foster care are not good. Up to one in four children who have been in foster care will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Young people who leave foster care without forever families are more likely to experience homelessness, addiction, and human trafficking.
In speaking with front-line child welfare workers in West Virginia, Chestnut Mountain Ranch (“the Ranch”) has consistently heard that more and longer serving foster families are desperately needed to improve outcomes for children in foster care.
The Village is a new Ranch ministry creating Christ-centered communities to bring hope and homes to vulnerable West Virginia children and families. The Village will start by working with churches statewide to create local ministries that support foster, adoptive, and vulnerable children and their families. This practical support will increase the number of foster families and the time that those families serve. The result will be improved outcomes for West Virginia’s children.
Be on the lookout for more news in the coming months as The Village grows across the Mountain State!!