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Kansas DCF Pushes Back Against Discrimination Claims

Stephen Koranda
KPR, File photo

The head of the Kansas Department for Children and Families says concerns over discrimination against same-sex foster parents are causing a distraction.

The comments from Secretary Phyllis Gilmore came at a committee meeting at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Gilmore said the allegations are being politicized and taking focus away from other issues.

“If ever the distraction of that issue for political means results in a child’s death, I would say shame on the legislators who are politicizing it,” Gilmore says.

Allegations have surfaced that claim the agency discriminates against same-sex couples in foster care and adoption. Democratic Rep. Jarrod Ousley raised concerns that the agency may be hiding evidence using a confidentiality rule. He points out that DCF opposed an audit that could have uncovered evidence of discrimination.

“If there’s nothing to hide, if there’s no policy, no procedures practicing discrimination then there’s nothing to hide and I don’t see why they’d be so adamantly against answering question five,” Ousley says.

Gilmore says the audit question was biased and the agency doesn’t discriminate. Ousley says the audit question was well written.

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.