While the system was supposed to go live July 1, Deweese said Putnam County needed a little more time to work out the logistics.
Cpl. Brian Humphreys said the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department is meeting next week to do the same and will start entering data soon. Already, though, two victims' advocates regularly scan reports looking for cases that might involve children and flagging them for CPS.
Now, that information will be in a specific place in the paperwork, noted in a uniform manner.
"If someone is a frequent arrestee, if someone has a drug habit or some other problem in their life, this gives us a way of documenting it without overburdening the system," Humphreys said.
Sometimes, the need to remove children is clear and immediate. In those cases, deputies still call CPS. But sometimes, Humphreys said, the cases can wait, so the tracking system will avoid those late-night calls.
State Police hope the tracking system will eventually be used statewide.
A report released last fall found that children are dying from abuse and neglect at a higher rate in West Virginia than in any other state, a problem judges, social workers and others say is fueled by rampant substance abuse.
While abuse and neglect reports have fallen nationally for five straight years, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System found West Virginia had the highest death rate at 4.16 children per 100,000 in 2011. That was slightly ahead of Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Cases of child abuse and neglect have been clogging the criminal court system, accounting for as much as 40 percent of a judge's time in some circuits.
The Justice Center at the nonpartisan Council of State Governments says West Virginians are more likely to die from drug overdoses than residents of any other state, and one in 10 adults has a substance abuse problem.