Funding will help residential facilities transition children back to home and community

CHARLESTON, W.V., Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Aetna Better Health® of West Virginia, a CVS Health® company (NYSE: CVS), has provided $6.1 million to 18 health care providers across the state to help them expand community-based waiver services for Children with Serious Emotional Disorders (CSED) and in-state specialized residential care. The community investments will help youth living in residential facilities transition back to home- and/or to community-based settings, like foster homes where the child and family can receive high-intensity behavioral health and other social care services in an environment that is loving and the least restrictive.

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West Virginia's CSED waiver program provides eligible children and teens with serious behavioral or mental health needs with a range of intensive behavioral health services and supports. The goal of the program is to assist children with severe emotional disorders by helping them remain with their families, in their homes and communities, with a support network, while receiving the services they need to improve outcomes.

"Children with specialized and high-need behavioral health concerns, such as children with autism spectrum disorder or severe trauma reactive behaviors, are often placed in residential facilities that offer unique specialized services. This practice can create much stress on the family unit, including the child," said Kathy Szafran, Executive Director, Mountain Health Promise, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia.

"Currently, there are over 500 West Virginia children living in some form of residential mental health treatment facility," said Todd White, CEO Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. "Aetna wants to assist current in-state residential treatment providers in expanding their services to help move these children back home. The objective of our community investments is to allow these facilities to assess the strengths and needs of children already in or entering residential placement, evaluate mental health and other social support services those children will need to return to their communities, then develop a plan to address barriers to accessing those services."

Many of the state's residential treatment providers that received Aetna's community investments are using them to implement innovative programming strategies to transition children back to the community, including:

  • Hiring clinical staff, therapists and community service coordinators to achieve a continuum of care by broadening the scope of their residential work through adding an in-community care component
  • Adding staff training for the delivery of community-based services for children
  • Developing specialized intensive programing for youth impacted by trauma
  • Expanding discharge planning services and aftercare

According to Szafran, "an example of how providers have applied creative solutions occurred in a recent case where a nine-year old with extreme behavioral challenges was removed from his adoptive parent's care and placed in a residential facility. After nine-months of receiving intensive, residential therapy to improve his coping skills, it was determined he was eligible for a CSED waiver and was able to move back home with the supportive plan that he and his adoptive parent continued to meet weekly with the community-based wraparound facilitator and licensed behavioral health therapist. A year after the CSED waiver services began, the boy is the best he's ever been, and is excelling at home and school, with no bouts of aggression."

Among the West Virginia organizations receiving Aetna community investments were:



Board of Child Care

Genesis Youth Crisis Center, Inc.

Braley & Thompson, a StepStone Agency

Prestera Center

KVC West Virginia, a subsidiary of KVC Health Systems

Burlington United Methodist Family Services, Inc.


Elkins Mountain Schools

Diversified Assessment & Therapy Services

The Children's Home of Wheeling, Inc.

Home Base Inc.

Davis Stuart

Florence Crittenton, Inc.

Golden Girl, Inc.

National Youth Advocate Program

St. John's Home for Children

Children's Home Society of West Virginia

Stepping Stone, Inc.

"Aetna's generous support, vision and partnership will allow us to expand family strengthening and mental health services to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, as well as potentially prevent the need for some foster children to enter residential treatment," said Jason R. Hooper, President and CEO, KVC Health Systems, one of the funding recipients. "Thanks to the collaboration with Aetna, many more children and families can now access vital services that will contribute to their immediate and long-term health and wellbeing."

Aetna Better Health of West Virginia is the sole managed care organization for the state's Specialized Managed Care for Children and Youth contract. The statewide contract covers the physical and behavioral health care services for children and youth in the foster care system and individuals receiving adoption assistance, as well as children in the CSED waiver program. The health plan has administered CSED waiver programs for members in West Virginia since March 1, 2020.

About Aetna Medicaid

Aetna Medicaid Administrators LLC (Aetna Medicaid), a CVS Health company, has over 30 years of experience managing the care of the most medically vulnerable, using innovative approaches and a local presence in each market to achieve both successful health care results and effective cost outcomes. Aetna Medicaid has particular expertise serving high-need Medicaid members, including those who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Aetna Medicaid owns and/or administers Medicaid managed health care plans under the names of Aetna Better Health and other affiliate names. Together, these plans serve approximately 2.8 million people in 16 states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. For more information, see

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that's managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

Media contact
Robert Joyce


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