WVU will store the data that's collected, which could help give policy makers a better idea of what services are needed and where.
"Right now, we have patterns. We'll do community focus groups, but maybe 20 people show up for town meetings," Szafran said, "so we're not really getting a clear picture of the trends."
The database would also help colleges and universities customize educational programs to meet the state's needs, perhaps offering more master's degree programs in social work, for example.
"Historically, we bring in consultants to come into our state and tell us how to do behavioral services. They provide a beautiful report in a beautiful binder, and we all promptly stick it on the shelf," Szafran said. "This will give us hard data to see what's really going on with West Virginia kids."