CHARLESTON — Jeremiah Samples, deputy secretary with the West Virginia DHHR until last week, has released the following statement:
“I want to thank the many colleagues, leaders, and community partners I have had the honor to serve during my time at DHHR. I have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of supportive messages I have received from people in all three branches of government, the advocacy community, private providers, the National Guard, and WV families that have trusted me to assist them in their time of need. I cannot properly express my gratitude.
“Specifically, I want to thank Governor Justice and the Legislature. Our State has historically low unemployment, an expanding dynamic economy, remarkable tourism success, infrastructure expansion, and record budget surpluses.
“At the same time, the Governor and Legislature dedicated more resources to support vulnerable populations and to empower people on a path to self-sufficiency than at any point in State history.
“Despite having an allocated budget of $7.5 billion, tireless dedication by wonderful staff and Commissioners, and an expectation for success from the Governor, DHHR has struggled to make, and even lost, progress in many critical areas. Child welfare, substance use disorder, protection of the vulnerable, management of state health facilities, EMS and provider capacity, supporting client transition from public assistance to the workforce, contract management, and many more DHHR responsibilities have simply not met anyone’s expectation, especially my own.
“While the answers to these problems are complex, solutions must be found. As a society, we can never forget that every statistic is a real person. We must do better.
“For every child protected from harm and family supported, I am far more cognizant, even haunted, by those that have not been saved or that will go unsaved tomorrow. I cannot properly articulate the level of responsibility I personally feel for those suffering and struggling that I have not been able to help.
“Unfortunately, Secretary Crouch and I have not shared the same views on what the problems are, how to handle them, or the urgency of achieving results, but I respect this parting of ways and pray for the State’s success in solving these issues.
“I remain full of hope. My departure from DHHR is an opportunity to rededicate myself to serving West Virginia and our people. Despite our challenges, I feel positive about the future and the many new ways that I can help our State. I look forward to continuing this work with dedicated partners moving forward. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”