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Reported Plan To Require Foster Care Couples To Marry Raising Concerns

Dave Ranney
Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Carr Kittel is raising questions about possible changes to the state’s foster care program. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the judge is concerned the state may soon require foster-care couples to be married.

Judge Kittel outlined her concerns in a letter to officials at the Kansas Department of Children and Families. She says requiring all couples providing foster to marry would reduce the number of foster homes at a time when there are near record numbers of children in the system.

Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, has similar concerns. She says they’re based on reports she’s getting from people who work in the foster care system.

DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed confirms the agency is conducting a top-to-bottom review of the foster care program. But she says no decisions have been made on new policies.

“We are in the early stages of conducting a long and thorough process of review and deliberation of the program," Freed says.

The changes being discussed are said to be a part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s ongoing efforts to use state policy to promote marriage.