New Kansas Welfare Chief Promises to Review Foster Care System

Most foster care organizations get negative press. Most agencies, because of inadequate funding, have caseloads too high for each social worker. The new director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families is looking to improve this view and to address these concerns.

After very negative audit results of the foster care system in the summer of 2016, Kansas is now in the process of implementing major changes. It concluded that “Kansas was putting Vulnerable children at risk by struggling to provide adequate oversight for contractors providing services.” They recently met and reviewed major areas where change is needed and steps to take within the Department. One major concern is the number of missing or runaway children from foster care. It was reported that there are currently 79 missing children.

Another area reviewed were the relationships and communications, internally and externally, of the personnel and agencies. According to another news article, the new director is addressing the need  to improve internal communications, as well as being more open with “public transparency.”

Kansas is not isolated with concerns and negative issues in their child welfare system. In Indiana, the director of the Department of Children’s Services, Mary Beth Bonaventura, recently resigned and wrote a powerful letter to the state’s governor. She stated her concern for the well-being of the state’s children in care. She believes the lack of adequate funding will be a detriment to the many children in care. Mary Beth stated, “I feel I am unable to protect children because of the position taken by your staff to cut funding and services to children in the midst of the opioid crisis. I fear lives will be lost and families ruined.”

Foster care is a vital institution for our most vulnerable children. Many of these children have experienced trauma and abuse. It is vital for these children to have good services, a safe home, and opportunities that can lead them to success.