Cumberland Times-News

Local News

May 6, 2014

14 staff members return to Romney’s Potomac Center

Reinstated employees must complete training before caring for children

ROMNEY, W.Va. — Some employees who were laid off at the Potomac Center after children were removed following reports of abuse have been allowed to return.

The 14 employees stood in line Monday morning to be reinstated at the center.

Those returning will spend eight to 10 hours a day for 10 days going through intensive training in preparation of the return of children.

Last week the Bureau of Children and Families approved a provisional license that enabled the center to open one of the three cottages that had been closed.

Numerous changes have been made at the center.

Each of the three cottages will have its own supervisor in lieu of having one supervisor for all three cottages.

The center has tripled cameras located in the cottages from three to nine, which ensures that video surveillance will cover the entire cottage with no dead spots.

Abuse and neglect policies have also been revamped — any violation is to be reported immediately.

The cell phone policy has also been addressed. No cell phone is allowed in the center. If a cell phone is found, that person will be disciplined.

Twenty-four kids living at the center were removed Jan. 16 and 17 following reports of possible physical and sexual abuse.

The West Virginia State Police reported there were potentially up to 12 victims ages 7 to 17 identified and 10 suspects.

Four employees have since been fired and another 10 quit their positions.

A total of 82 out of 180 workers at the center have been affected. Fifty have been laid off and the remaining staff cut to 32 hours, resulting in a 20 percent cut in pay.

A statement on the center’s web page says, “The Potomac Center is now engaged in the process of hiring and training staff and looks forward to accepting individuals back into this group home over the next few weeks.

“After the reopening of this first home, the PC will work with the Bureau toward the opening of the other two homes.

“As part of this effort, we are excited to be introducing a new methodology called positive behavioral interventions and supports to better serve our individuals.”

Contact Marla Pisciotta at marlapisciotta@frontier.com.

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