A key goal of the CHAMPS campaign is to improve the understanding among policymakers and the public about the vital role that foster parents play in helping children and youth heal, succeed in school and transition out of foster care to the care of a permanent family. CHAMPS is incredibly grateful to have be partnering with Marissa Sanders, founder and Executive Director of the West Virginia Foster Adoptive and Kinship Parents Network, who is an incredibly effective messager on the needs of children in foster care and the role of foster parents.  Under her leadership, the WV Foster Adoptive and Kinship Parents network has undertaken significant policy improvement efforts in West Virginia. What’s more, Sanders has established the network as a go-to source for information on policy and best practices relating to caregiving for children and youth in foster care. In this blog post, we share a compilation of media pieces that Sanders helped to generate over the past couple of years as part of the network’s advocacy efforts.

A list of monthly columns from the Charleston Gazette Mail, for a series titled Kids in Care, authored by Sanders.

April 2021

Kids in Care: Caring for 25,000 kids in need | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

May 2021

Kids in Care: Coming together virtually over a mutual interest in caring for kids | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

June 2021

Kids in Care: Changes coming to WV foster care system | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

July 2021

Kids in Care: Bringing foster and bio parents together | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

 Aug 2021

Kids in Care: How to help foster kids feel comfortable in the classroom | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

 Sept 2021

Kids in Care: Families need supportive that’s more supportive | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

 Oct 2021

Kids in Care: What foster parents most need, and how you can help | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

 Nov 2021

Kids in Care: Policy recommendations to help foster care | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

 Dec 2021

Kids in Care: Looking to 2022 | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

Jan 2022

Kids in Care: Looking ahead to 2022 | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

Feb 2022

Kids in Care: A Network Hoping for Change | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com

March 2022

Kids in Care: Lawmakers Miss Opportunity to Increase DHHR Accountability; Improve Foster Care | Life & Arts | wvgazettemail.com


Selected print news stories that include foster, adoptive, and kinship caregiving issues in West Virginia 

Jan 2019

West Virginia foster care officials meet at public hearing | WCHS (wchstv.com)

Oct 2019

W.Va. Foster Parents Say They Need More Support | WVPB (wvpublic.org)

Dec 2019

Lawmakers vote to let foster care agencies turn away LGBTQ youth, parents | State & Region | register-herald.com

Dec 2019

Survey highlights needs of Mountain State’s foster parents – WV MetroNews

Jan 2020

7 Reasons W.Va. Struggles To Find And Retain Quality Foster Parents | WVPB (wvpublic.org)

March 2020

‘A huge relief’: Foster parents celebrate passage of foster reform bill, which includes robust funding | Legislative Session | wvgazettemail.com

May 2020

Differences already seen as West Virginia’s updated adoption law takes effect – WV MetroNews

Jan 2021

Work continues on foster care legislation | Legislative Session | wvgazettemail.com

Feb 2021

Foster Kids Need Families To Live With And State Social Workers To Check On Them. West Virginia Doesn’t Have Enough Of Either. | WVPB (wvpublic.org)

Sept 2021

WV lawmakers say they’ll look at problems at foster care group homes (mountainstatespotlight.org)

Oct 2021

WV foster care advocates propose reform (mountainstatespotlight.org)

Nov 2021

West Virginia Foster Advocates Propose Changes – The Imprint (imprintnews.org)

Nov 2021

DHHR official says W.Va. Child Protective Services’ caseload becoming unmanageable | WCHS (wchstv.com)

Dec 2021

CPS Shortages Lack of Data Plague System as Demand for Foster Parents Rises / Public News Service

Dec 2021

Manchin faces political blowback at home, but it may not last – Roll Call

March 2022

Foster care advocates concerned after WVa bill’s defeat (wdtv.com)

March 2022

Bill addressing concerns in W.Va. foster care system dies in state legislature | WCHS (wchstv.com)

Op-eds by Sanders 

Sept 2018

Carna Metheney-White, Marissa Sanders and Stephen Smith: Gov. Justice, please don’t put our kids up for sale (Gazette Opinion) | Op-Ed Commentaries | wvgazettemail.com

Oct 2019

Op-ed: The foster parent retention solution no one is discussing |

Aug 2020

On Coronavirus-School Decisions, Foster Parents Must Be At The Helm (imprintnews.org)


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