According to the Kansas City Star, “In late November, Kansas’ newly-appointed child welfare leader said foster children spending the night in offices instead of homes or other placements was “unacceptable.” But more than four months later, dozens still do.
And although officials insist they have focused time and resources every day to find kids who are missing from foster care, nearly 70 are still unaccounted for in Kansas, according to officials with the Department for Children and Families.
When Gina Meier-Hummel took over the troubled state agency Dec. 1, she assured lawmakers and the public that she and her administration would work with the state’s two private contractors to correct these problems. Yet lawmakers and child advocates say that while the new administration is making things better, some kids are still in dire straits across Kansas.”
Meier-Hummel said the agency has the support from Governor Coyler in asking lawmakers for an additional $22 million in funding to continue to work on improvements.
“6.5 million of those dollars were aimed at prevention services and prevention funds, so we believe we can keep more children safe with their families if we do more prevention services,” she said.
The Kansas Legislature adopted H Sub for SB 109 which was the state budget. The budget added $2 million to family preservation programs in the Kansas Department for Children and Families, which is committing to hiring 20 more full-time child welfare caseworkers to DCF’s field staff. There is money, Governor Colyer said, to secure emergency beds to bring to an end the practice of foster children sleeping in the offices of state contractors because no home can be found.
Richard Hilderbrand voted against the budget and against the money to help locate these missing children and stop the practice of them sleeping in state offices. It’s time for Southeast Kansans to elect a leader who won’t vote against their interests.
Paid for by Senate Democratic Committee, Will Lawrence, Treasurer