child welfare

The long-troubled foster care system in Kansas got hit with yet another complication over the last year.

Pandemic complications came on top of ongoing fixes mandated by a class-action settlement and simmering pressure to find more homes for children in crisis.

One of the largest private foster care agencies in Kansas has signed a new deal with the state drawn up in the wake of reports of cash shortages and elaborate spending.

The contract amendment requires that Saint Francis Ministries give the Department for Children and Families a new business plan by March 1. The nonprofit will have to report specific information about its income and costs, said DCF secretary Laura Howard.

Chris Neal for the Kansas News Service

Most of Wichita attorney Trent Wetta’s clients fall between the ages of 14 and 17, but they can be as young as 10. They typically face misdemeanor charges, such as possession of marijuana or theft, or minor felony charges, like burglary.

It can prove tricky guiding a child through a criminal justice system made by adults with law degrees.


LAWRENCE, Kansas — When school buildings across Kansas shut down in March, parents and students had to adjust to shorter class times, Zoom sessions and take-home packets.

Meanwhile, families in the foster care system faced extra challenges: keeping up with training sessions, therapy appointments and social worker visits.

LAWRENCE, Kansas — The state of Kansas has settled a class-action lawsuit with attorneys who represent Kansas foster children.

Foster parent Mitzi Monson feels lucky she can stay at home.

Yet since the coronavirus closed schools, Monson has had few breaks from the three children in her care. At least extra money from the state’s foster care agency, awarded since the start of the pandemic, helps pay for groceries.

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — All of Western Kansas has just one shelter for children who are in protective custody or are victims of sex trafficking. The new shelter isn’t taking kids yet, because it’s waiting on its license, but local officials say those 14 beds are needed.

TOPEKA, Kansas — The same kids who end up in trouble with the law often come from families in disarray.

Those families, in turn, regularly turn to the state for food assistance, foster care or mental health care.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday a plan to form a singular agency — the Kansas Department of Human Services — that would absorb social welfare programs currently handled by three agencies.

The new agency would have a massive statewide presence, employing 6,000 workers, and oversee foster care, mental health services, four state hospitals and the juvenile justice complex. 

HTTP://NC.CASAFORCHILDREN.ORG/ / KMUW/File photo

A program that helps abused and neglected children in state custody is putting out the call to recruit more volunteers.

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