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Archive for Sunday, July 28, 2002

Foster-care official resigns after 15 years

July 28, 2002

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Kansas Children's Service League president and chief executive officer Bob Hartman resigned last week. He had been with the agency for 15 years.

Kansas Children's Service League is one of the state's five regional foster-care contractors. It's also the state's sole contractor for adoption services.

Joe Whitaker, the league's chief financial officer, will serve as interim CEO while the agency conducts a national search for a successor. Hartman resigned at the group's board meeting Wednesday.

Bette Morris, head of the board of directors, said Friday that Hartman had not been asked to resign.

"Bob said he decided to resign, and when he told the board that was what he wanted to do, he didn't give an explanation and we didn't push him for one," Morris said.

Morris said Hartman's exit was not a signal of trouble. "Our performance is improving, and our financial condition is strengthened," she said.

She declined to say whether the league would bid on the state's adoption contract when it expires in 2004.

Kansas Children's Service League took over the adoption contract from Lutheran Social Services in 2000. Months later, Lutheran Social Services announced it had run out of money and could pay its creditors only 74 cents on the dollar.

A year later, United Methodist Youthville, the state's largest foster-care contractor, filed bankruptcy. At the time, Hartman conceded that Kansas Children's Service League, too, had encountered temporary cash flow problems. He later said the problems had been corrected.

Hartman, who lives in Wichita, could not be reached for comment.

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