by Christina Zschomler

West Virginia
West Virginia officials are turning to the federal government to grant Medicaid access to mental health support for families. Services the officials are requesting to be covered by Medicaid include providing social mentors for youth, extra support for parents, and additional access to therapy. Beginning in 2015 with a letter addressed to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin regarding the segregation of children from families resulting from a neglected mental health system for children, this process has developed slowly for the state. West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources only started accepting comments from the public about certain child welfare reform efforts following this letter as of this past Tuesday. State officials have been tasked with proving the services are worth the costs and would determine this by number of children year-to-year who utilize the services being advocated for. West Virginia’s Medicaid and child welfare reform would especially benefit children in foster care, who statistically face mental health challenges and make up a majority of children signed up for Medicaid.

Tennessee and Pennsylvania
A Nashville juvenile court judge is urging the Tennessee legislature to toss aside a bill permitting faith-paced adoption agencies to deny service to parents who are LGBTQ+ due to religious stance. Judge Sheila Calloway has constructed an op-ed featured in the Tennessean that emphasizes the 8,500 children in Tennessee foster care that would remain homeless as a result of the bill. This same week, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia deemed that “city contractors must abide by nondiscrimination policies in the placement of foster children with same-sex couples.” As states make substantial progress toward full inclusion in the child welfare system of parents who are LGBTQ+, religious organizations have persistently met these efforts with lawsuits and protests.

Christina Zschomler is CWLA’s editorial intern. She can be reached at