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DCF Implements Changes In Response To Kansas Foster Care Audit


In July, an audit blasted the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) for not doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. A legislative panel has received an update on what the agency has been doing to respond to the findings.

DCF communication director Theresa Freed says the department has already put multiple changes in place.

There are additional improvements coming in January, with stricter polices on required monthly visits to check on foster kids. She says there will also be more scrutiny of Kansas foster homes.

“We’ve got some very major improvements coming, especially as far as foster care licensing in terms of background checks and finger printing. We’re doing a much better job with the program and making sure that the homes are safe,” Freed says.

But policy changes aren’t enough to satisfy some lawmakers, like Democratic Rep. Jarrod Ousley.

“They had training and policies in place that should have looked out for the best interests of the child that have failed on too many occasions. I’m not sure how new training and new policies are going to really change or correct anything,” Ousley says.

The legislative committee is recommending a state panel be created to more closely monitor foster care.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.