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Kansas Foster Care System Under State Scrutiny

Andy Marso
Heartland Health Monitor

Kansas lawmakers are scrutinizing the state’s foster care system. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the review was prompted by reports about children who died in the system.

Democrats in the Kansas Legislature pushed for an investigation of the state’s foster care system last summer following the deaths of two young children. A four-year-old boy was beaten to death in Hiawatha. And a Wichita infant died in a hot car after being forgotten by her foster parents.

That investigation was blocked by the Republican majority on the committee that authorizes state audits. But Republicans are now joining Democrats in questioning the system, which was privatized in 1997.

The number of children in the system has set records in recent years – topping 6,000 for a time last year.

Sen. Julia Lynn, a Republican from Olathe, and others on a special study committee say the system isn’t working.

Officials in the Department of Children and Families say they are in the process changing the rules to make it easier to substantiate instances of child abuse. And they say they’re trying to hire more social workers to oversee the companies that manage the system.

Read more on this story from KHI News Service.