- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State officials are resuming an education program for youth in state custody at a privately operated facility in Berkeley County.

The West Virginia Board of Education voted on Wednesday to renew its contract to provide education services at the Board of Child Care of The United Methodist Church, The Charleston Gazette (https://bit.ly/1NQwEew) reported.

The school board had terminated the contract in May following investigations by the Department of Health and Human Resources that found safety lapses and frequent runaways.

Board of Child Care president Laurie Ann Spagnola told the school board that the facility has implemented several corrective measures, including benefits to decrease turnover among new hires and replacing staff.

The DHHR investigated the facility in Falling Waters in December 2014 following a complaint that it was unsafe for staff and the youth housed there. Another investigation in March followed reports of residents running away from the facility.

The DHHR suspended placements and moved all 38 residents elsewhere in March. The agency then accepted a corrective plan for the facility that would allow youth to return. The plan requires an educational program for youth.

The facility plans to reopen the campus with a career and technical education program built around culinary arts and events planning, said Jacob Green, who oversees the Department of Education’s Office of Institutional Education Programs.

“This isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to rewarding and it’s going to be engaging for the children,” Green told the school board on Wednesday.

He also said the facility’s state-employed principal resigned on June 30, without being asked.

“It’s a different facility, it’s going to be a different facility,” he said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com

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