Author

Kate Masters

Kate Masters

Kate grew up in Northern Virginia before moving to the Midwest, earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She spent a year covering gun violence and public health for The Trace in Boston before joining The Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Md. While at the News-Post, she won awards in feature writing and breaking news from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, including a best in show for her coverage of the local opioid epidemic. Most recently, she covered state and county politics for the Bethesda Beat in Montgomery County, Md. Contact: [email protected]

A new state office aims to address longstanding gaps in Virginia’s foster care system

By: - June 30, 2021

For decades, there’s often been nowhere to turn if something goes wrong in Virginia’s foster care system, a sprawling program administered through 120 local agencies — all with their own policies and operating procedures. While there is a state Department of Social Services, officials have historically said they have little authority to intervene when local […]

Amid a push to end mental health hospitalizations, Virginia is still funding more beds

By: - June 28, 2021

“Broken” is the only word Sheriff Darrell Warren can find to describe Virginia’s mental health system. A 30-year veteran of the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office, he’s part of a growing contingent — law enforcement officials who have turned to state legislators, or the pages of their local newspapers, to share their alarm over a continuing shortage […]

Black mothers in Virginia have worse health outcomes. Advocates want bias training for doctors, but can it narrow the gap?

By: - June 25, 2021

Like many health experts, Dora Muhammad was dismayed when national headlines began to highlight growing racial disparities in maternal mortality.  Virginia was no exception. Black women in the state are more than twice as likely to die in childbirth than White women, according to the most recently available data from the state Department of Health. […]

Virginia reaches new vaccine milestone even as gaps continue across the state

By: - June 21, 2021

Seventy percent of adult Virginians have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, beating a July 4 goal set by President Joe Biden.  “Virginia is the 16th state to have 70 percent of adults with at least one shot, and we reached that two weeks early,” Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday, celebrating the […]

She’s been out of prison for 11 years. In Virginia, she still has a lifetime employment ban from many professions.

By: - June 21, 2021

In 2002, Melissa Brown stole a purse from a grocery store cart and ran. For the past two years, she had been addicted to crack cocaine and “had gotten to a very low place in my life,” she said. Police later charged her with robbery, and she pled guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping several […]

Virginia is changing expectations for child care providers to put focus on early education

By: - June 18, 2021

Come July 1, Virginia will join a growing number of states to fold child care oversight into its Department of Education. The seemingly small shift signifies a major change in how the state is thinking about early childhood development. For years, child care and K-12 schools have been treated as separate services, overseen by different […]

Major staffing shortages beset Virginia’s child care providers

By: - June 14, 2021

After more than a year of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Rosalind Cutchins is braced for a busy June as she prepares to reopen two Head Start programs at her child care centers across the Hampton Roads region. But she’s been confronted by a staffing shortfall — 22 unfilled positions across eight different locations. It’s a […]

Former governor, education secretary call for more investment in Virginia’s historically Black colleges

By: - June 11, 2021

As Virginia lawmakers consider how to spend more than $4.3 billion in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, two former state leaders are calling for more investment in the state’s historically Black colleges and universities. Former Gov. Doug Wilder and Jim Dyke, who served as Virginia’s first Black secretary of education in Wilder’s administration, […]

Deaths rose in Virginia’s mental hospitals last year, but COVID-19 wasn’t the prime culprit

By: - June 10, 2021

Like many congregate facilities, Virginia’s state-run mental hospitals reported an increase in deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. But the “vast majority” of those deaths weren’t the result of COVID-19, according to a state watchdog group tasked with advocating for Virginians with disabilities. The findings are raising concerns that patients are being inappropriately admitted to mental […]

Virginia has invested more than $20 million in vaccine outreach. But demand is still dropping.

By: - June 7, 2021

On a warm day in May, Garry Wakely strode vigorously down the streets of downtown Bristol, Virginia, stopping just short of flat-out run.  In less than 15 minutes, a group of volunteers and employees with the Mount Rogers Health District would pack up the day’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the local public library. But nurses […]

Federal funding restrictions could force schools to spend millions improving buildings that should be replaced

By: - June 4, 2021

Virginia schools received nearly $2 billion from the federal government in its latest round of COVID-19 relief funding for public education. But while current guidance allows that money to pay for pandemic-related improvements — including new HVAC systems, window repairs or replacing carpeted areas with tile — it strongly discourages new school construction, according to […]

Sentara ends plans to merge with North Carolina-based hospital system

By: - June 2, 2021

Sentara, one of Virginia’s largest hospital systems, announced Wednesday that it was ending its pursuit of a merger with North Carolina-based Cone Health. The two companies first announced their intention to consolidate in August 2020, saying the merger could serve as a “model for the rest of the nation’s health care systems.” The move would […]