Archive for Friday, August 5, 2011

Officials working on SRS deal remain mum about closed-door proceedings

August 5, 2011


Two high-ranking officials with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services met Friday with local leaders behind closed doors to discuss ways to avoid closing the Lawrence SRS office.

SRS Chief of Staff Jeff Kahrs and Director of Government Affairs Gary Haulmark left after about one-half hour.

“We’re happy to meet with them,” Kahrs said, but declined to divulge any details about what was discussed.

None of the participants in the meeting would talk about what was said.

Douglas County Commission Chairman Jim Flory said, “We’re continuing to work on it.”

He said he wasn’t at liberty to provide any details about any proposals put forward.

SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. has announced the closure of nine offices, including the one in Lawrence. Gov. Sam Brownback and Siedlecki have said the closures are needed to save $1 million in administrative costs.

Local officials have said SRS’ stated savings of $400,000 by closing the Lawrence office is overstated, and that the closure would cause many vulnerable Kansans to lose critical services. Brownback and Siedlecki have said Lawrence clients could access services online or travel to nearby cities, such as Topeka. Advocates say that is not plausible.

“It’s extremely important the SRS office remains open in Lawrence,” said Lawrence City Commissioner Mike Amyx, who attended the meeting Friday. Amyx said he “felt very good about the meeting.”

Others in attendance were City Commissioner Hugh Carter, City Manager David Corliss and County Administrator Craig Weinaug.


Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Excellent entertainment! Can't you just see Weinaug wringing his hands, Carter nodding his head, and Corliss looking about the room? Meanwhile Kahrs and Haulmark in robotoic form, parroting the Party Line? Flory was, perhaps, a bit absent, figuring out the possible Flory windfall from price supports and price subsidies from USDA, even if same weren't going directly to him.

Ah....Kansas....ya gotta love the rube entertainments where ya can get 'em. How much does Douglas County pay Weinaug, again?

While the closure of the Lawrence SRS office by Brownback and his running dog is nothng but plain stupid, it is imperative that, locally, we don't pay to keep the office open: City, County, etc. and/or any combination thereof. Brownback wants local jurisdictions to shoulder a state burden.

Too, when will people realize what we have here is an opportunity to right and correct the crimes agains the people of Kansas that SRS has been perpetrating in the foster care and child abuse and neglect arena for years and years? Why is the focus simply on making comfortable office space for 87 people who have not been terminated but merely transferred?

Joe Hyde 6 years, 8 months ago

Alceste, if you see Lawrence's SRS office closure as being about nothing more than "...simply making comfortable office space for 87 (SRS) people...", then I respectfuly suggest you have your eyesight checked by a qualified optometrist right away. If that exam detects a serious medical issue early enough, you might can get it fixed before you yourself become so blind that you need SRS assistance.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Joe....with all due respect, I NEVER waste my time with a Grade C "doctor". Always use the MD opthamologist. 20/20 was the most recent finding.

The nuts and bolts of OUR local SRS office are the VERY hard working people who accept, process, and manage applications for Public it in the form of food stamps (SNAP), TANF (cash assistance), child care, and even medical assistance (which is supposed to be handled by a totally different office but who openly admit they sweep un-processed applications in to empty desk drawers), etc.

These hard working people are overlooked by the hand wringing rubes in our community; are overworked and underpaid; abused and maligned by both SRS management and the very people they serve; and, simply put, attaced internally and externally on a daily basis.

The general public has no idea what goes on in the belly of the beast of a "local SRS office". Social workers do very little given that child welfare matters have been and are privitized here in Kansas. However, seemingly, the general public cares not who does what where.....all I've pretty much seen since this office closure announcement is emotive, irrational, stupid "ME FIRST!!!!" worry warts.

Don't tell me, "riverrat (Joe Hyde)" that I don't know what is going on. Trust me, I do. It is YOU that doesn't have a clue relative to the stupidity that exists within the local SRS office and the dysfunctional pecking order.

Again, the nuts and bolts of the local office are the staff who accept, take, process, and case manage the financial side of SRS cases. It is NOT the "social workers". Those sniffle nosed, arrogant twits only worry about where they're going to spend they're 1.5 hour lunch hour.

The larger question is "What is going to happen if we're able to keep the office open?" Will the hand wringing fools amongst us seek out hard core data as to who carries the water in a local SRS office, or will they continue to think it has to do with abused and/or neglected child and abused and/or neglected dependent adults? Get real.

pittstatebb 6 years, 8 months ago

Do you know how long an opthamologist spends learning how to refract a patient for their perscription? Did you know that a video might be the way that they learn how to do said refraction? Do you know how much you are driving up the cost of medical care by using an opthamologist for a simple refraction instead of surgery?

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Ummmm......let me know when the longitudinal studies are in relative to "lasik" surgery, please.

I like to know from the opthamologist that my two eyes are just fine (or not) and in the same process get the Rx for any change needed for eyeglasses which are purchased via . "Retail purchase" of Optical Rx in the U.S.A. is a joke......

BruceWayne 6 years, 8 months ago

we don't stand a chance with Core-less hanging about.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Wildgen is a double, triple dipper; got PAID big time by the city and has no place anywhere in this discussion. Sit down, please.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Corliss does the best he can with what he's got to work with. He does have a heavy load to carry going to deposit that pay check, though.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 8 months ago

Can you see the city/county paying the rent to keep SRS in Lawrence? Bailing out the land owners again.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

And even before that, it plays right into what Brownback wants to do: Compel locals to pay for what the state is supposed to pay for. It's better for this office to CLOSE (ideally for a very short time frame) than it is for the city and the county to foot the bill which only serves to do Brownback's bidding: After the rent, next comes utilities and supplies....finally ending with the city/county also responsible for footing the wage and benefits bills. BAD IDEA.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

What is the Brownback admin doing with money allegedly being saved?

How many want a refund check? ME

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Brownback,Koch family ,Wal-Mart money want to privatize these services and public schools.

While they despise paying taxes they love the thought of billions in tax dollars creating a nice profit margin.

Included in their process is reducing wages across the board = blue and white collars working for less pay while Walton's and Koch's increase their wealth.

How many here want to make less money for their hard labor?

overthemoon 6 years, 8 months ago

The middle is a dangerous place to be these days as it just keeps sliding farther right! I used to be middle of the road moderate, but I find, without changing my politics at all, I am now a 'radical leftist'. Feels weird, but I will resist the slide to the right at all costs!

xclusive85 6 years, 8 months ago

Every county used to have an SRS office until they started to close in 2003 under Sebelius. From your comments above, the Lawrence office closure is political ( I don't really disagree). What was your opinion when the other offices started to close? Didn't know? Didn't care? Oh, and to answer your question above, yes some of the nine office closures are in strongly Republican counties.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 8 months ago

The intent of the legislature going along with the cut in SRS budget was that it would come from administrative cuts in the central offices, not in the outlying service provision areas. Once again, the Brownback way is to smile and nod your head until the legislators leave the capitol, then start hacking away, doing whatever you feel like doing.

The Sebelius closings were done very transparently and collaboratively, with quite a bit of input from the areas affected, when compared to what Brownback's grenade-tossing strategy has been. Or maybe I was thinking IEDs: inquire, eviscerate, destroy.

xclusive85 6 years, 8 months ago

Again, didn't disagree with the political side of things this time around, but the fact that there was a lot of input from the affected areas when previous offices were closed is false. I lived in one of those areas, and the outrage there was as real as it is here.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 8 months ago

I certainly don't want to disagree with someone who has gone through this in their area a few years back, but I have some clarifying questions:

Even though your area's office was closed, against its wishes, no doubt, you DID know that closures were soon coming down the pike for somebody, somewhere, correct? And folks knew ahead of the announcement that they were asking for usage data, folks were developing "what-if" plans and even "instead of, why not..." scenarios, too? I was not involved with this process personally, but my recollection in talking to folks at the time was that this was the case. And that's a far cry from the teleconferenced announcement that Lawrence SRS workers were subjected to, with no local input in the process, no alternatives explored with local officials and other stakeholders.

xclusive85 6 years, 8 months ago

Very fair points, we did have some warning. Notice though, that the office here in Lawrence isn't yet closed and that the same alternatives and what-if plans can be developed here. They said it would take three months from the announcement to close, roughly the same amount of time our SRS office had.

Also, I will point out that Lawrence has several non-profit organizations. Some people think that is one reason why they should not close the SRS office. I think that the amount of local non-profits actually would help to ease the blow of losing an SRS office compared to a place that does not have any other organizations.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 8 months ago

I think the difference between what you experienced and what Siedlecki has done is night and day, then. Sure, the outcome is potentially the same, but if stakeholders are not involved and have to muscle themselves into a process, shout and protest to get SRS's attention, and only then participate, there is certainly some issues of competence to ponder. Sebelius had the numbers crunched out and involved those involved way better than what this administration has done. Even the legislators seem to have been caught off guard, as it was their understanding that cuts were going to be administrative in nature in the Central Office, not in the outlying areas.

I don't think that using the number of non-profits in a city is a very useful criteria for closing; using that logic, you should close Wichita, Kansas City or Topeka first.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

The previous Governor did it the same way and closed even more offices. How soon we forget...even sooner when it did not impact our county and we did not pay attention.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 8 months ago

You're the one not paying attention---re-read the dialogue to catch up. Parkinson did not close SRS offices at all--we were talking about 2 governors ago, i.e. Sebelius, and comparing and contrasting the way office closures took place. While both Brownback and Sebelius made unpopular decisions to close offices, Brownback seems to have lobbed a grenade into the system with very little input from offices, and did it under the guise of making cuts in central office administration, while Sebelius used a much more transparent process that was upfront about downsizing being the objective and why, and involved stakeholders all the way through.

deec 6 years, 8 months ago

Or maybe the state can honor their admittedly overpriced lease, saving the owner the trouble of suing and winning.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

That mighta shoulda been something Sidekicky asked before deciding to just cut the place. Dontcha think?

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm surprised this doesn't violate open meetings laws.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

"Open meeting laws" They are for looks on the books. They are enforced by local government (District Attorney) and the Kansas Attorney General. So good luck with that!

justajoke 6 years, 8 months ago

Wow Aleseste sure thinks he or she knows the inside of the SRS office. Maybe an upset ex- employee??? Or who knows. You can think and say what you want but all of the positions in this office are valuable and no one works harder than others. Those SW you are talking about are the ones protecting and helping the children and families in this community and they are also looking out for the elderly and disabled. Please have respect for all..

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

The employees in every community where office closings have and will occur are important. While a large majority of social workers do understand their jobs carry a high degree of responsability and act in a professional and caring manner toward other parties those few who do not have not been held accountable under many previous administrations. The good social workers know this too. Many good social workers have left the field. I can tell from the posts Alceste does have considerable knowledge of this system. I do not agree with all Alceste's positions but would pay attention to Alceste's posts. We may learn something.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

The facts I could share would be a breach of confidentiality. Though seldom prosecuted and not having much of a penalty I will keep my record clean and wait until I can share it in a court of law where I have been properly served and some good may come of it. This back and forth with someone who is likely part of the problem and in denial will do the children no good.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

...or an answer from someone who does not have any facts they can legally share on this public forum. There is big is diference. Hopefully you know someone you trust that can explain that to you. Hope you have a better day tomorrow!

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Kansas SRS reversed it's focus in the very early 1990's following a consent decree which documented the abysmal activities of SRS social workers. The "pendulum" swung from a concentration on the financial side of a public welfare operation to the social services side and ever since, the financial side has suffered; both in terms of lost staffing and increased errors in processing and increased work loads for underpaid staff; especially when compared to the "social work" staff.

justajoke: The numbers speak for themselves: How many child abuse and neglect investigations (as well as dependent adult abuse/neglect investigations) take place, on average, on a daily basis in the Lawrence SRS office vs. how many "customers" (as if....what a crude term....they're clients....always have been and always will be) financial eligibility workers have to interact with either in person or on the phone on a daily basis?

Those "social workers" aren't protecting anybody or anything. Nor are these "social workers" protecting families. Quite the contrary: They are notorious in breaking apart families and have become very effective at it what with the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 (PL 105-89). The switch from PL 96-272 to PL 105-89 has only served to accelerate the number of children in foster care drift "awaiting" adoption. Meanwhile, your own govenor can't adopt a child out of our very own system......he gots to go all the way to China to "save" a "heathen". Incredible.

Since foster care is privitized in Kansas, there is very little for a SRS social worker to really do anymore other than "investigate" and "go get them". You don't know what you're talking about justajoke if you're going to say everybody in the Lawrence SRS office "works equally hard". No way. No how.

And, just how many social workers are dedicated to the disabled in that office? How many are dedicated to voc rehab? Go on....give out the numbers. It's an incredibly small number isn't it?

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

concerned_kansan noted: "Don Jordan and Tanya Keys were paid to cover up what was going on in the SRS agencies and all of their regions. Jordan was aware that there was falsifcation of documents to illegaly remove children and place them in the custody of the state to receive federal funds (only problem was - how they did it - not following the requirements - the children weren't eligible for federal funding and the Kansas tax payer had to pay - out of the general fund - for the crimes against the children and families)...." and earlier had noted:

"Ask Rep Paul Davis about the findings of the KS Post Legislative Audits - falsifications of documents to wrongfully remove childlren - the cost for those children coming out of the general budget. And Guess what - the outcome of foster care is such that these children become adults that are still a drain on the tax payer."

concerned_kansan is stating fact with respect to the fraud being perpetrated on the families of the state of Kansas by SRS in the past relative to how children are torn from their caretakers and placed in a disgusting process of foster care drift to fill the coffers of our good friend B. Wayne Sims and the Dante's Inferno place known as Kaw Valley Center here in Kansas thanks to the privitization of foster care services in Kansas.

Isn't your issue, justajoke, really about the fact you may have to commute out of town and not about "protecting families and children"? I do not support the closing of this office in any way, shape, or form. That being said, however, those head bobbing simple simons in Topeka have given the community an opportunity to take a hard and long look at just exactly what is the nuts and bolts of the Lawrence SRS office and it's the people who do the real helping by doing their best with what the legislature have given them to work with to try and make certain families have roofs over their heads and food on the table. shrug

Steve Miller 6 years, 8 months ago

Enough already, Browny has made his decession. WGAS..

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

ISSUES: Plaintiffs alleged that the Kansas child welfare system violated Title IV-E, the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Federal Due Process Clause, the Kansas Code for Care of Children, and the Kansas Constitution. The Kansas system had a number of serious deficiencies and had the highest recidivism in the country, with children who had been in foster care and were returned to their parents often returning to the system.

HISTORY AND STATUS: In January 1989, a Topeka child guardian filed a class action suit (J.D.B. v. Barton) against the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) that focused on lack of adequate placements for children entering foster care. The ACLU Children’s Rights Project entered the lawsuit in September 1989 by filing a motion to amend, which added the governor as a defendant and additional named plaintiffs from throughout the state. Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification was granted, and SRS’s motion to dismiss was denied. The lower court held that Kansas children can (1) enforce 118 provisions of Title IV-E in Kansas state court; (2) seek judicial relief under CAPTA, which requires states to respond to reports of suspected abuse or neglect in a timely and adequate manner; and (3) seek relief for violations of the provisions of the Kansas Code for Children. In June 1992, defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ Title IV-E claims, based on Suter v. Artist M. The motion was granted in October 1992. Defendant Governor Finney filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment on June 15, 1992, which was granted on August 20, 1992. Plaintiffs appealed. While the appeal was pending, the parties reached a settlement agreement in June 1993. The settlement agreement mandated wholesale changes in the Kansas child welfare system. Implementation of reforms under the settlement began on January 1, 1994. Pursuant to the agreement, an internal departmental quality assurance unit was established to assess compliance and an independent state auditing agency, the Legislative Division of Post Audit, also was charged with conducting ongoing performance audits assessing the Department's compliance with the agreement. On April 24, 1997, a motion to change the judge was filed. On April 29, 1997, Judge Buchele removed himself from the case. The new judge, Judge Yeoman, appointed a Special Task Force “to facilitate resolution of foster care issues in Kansas.” Because of the State’s success in implementing the settlement agreement, the state exited from the agreement on June 30, 2002. SRS and plaintiffs agreed to replace the settlement agreement with internal monitoring from SRS’s Quality Assurance Unit. The Unit is responsible for overseeing the quality of SRS’s supervision of children.

That's kinda like having the fox watch the hen house!

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Really? The FACTS speak for themselves.....DATE FILED: No. 89-CV-33 (Dist. Ct. of Shawnee, Kansas, Division 4, Sept. 1, 1990) (and that one took a mere 13/14 years to "conclude".....and "conclude" on a Schedule A humbug at that! hahahahahaahahahhahahahahaha.......).

Little boys/girls like Isense/Lsense might want to go to the wading depth of the pool....and not the adult "deep end" of the pool.....but drowning in public is OK by me! We all enjoy viewing a train wreck.........shrug

justajoke 6 years, 8 months ago

I am sure since Alceste has all of this knowledge then you would also know that the Social Workers don't remove children from the home the courts do. Every one has to follow the same rules and laws. SRS also has audits and I am sure if you would bother to pull those up the numbers and facts speak for themselves. As far as commuting... My spouse already commutes 45 minutes each way, and has done this for over 15 years.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

True, there is one set of laws but that does not mean they are followed by everyone in the state. They are not. It is true that courts are supposed to make the order. Judges do not see anything to make an order on unless there is a filing in court. The district attorney files it. The filing is usually initiated by an SRS worker making a report to the district attorney. SRS has caused "first harm" in many train wrecks over the years where children were removed on faulty information and SRS refused to correct it with the courts. Also in some areas of the state there have been judges who had their own little show going. They took children illegally often adopting them out. SRS has been aware of these situations involving large numbers of children for several years now. Previous SRS administrations have been complicit in this activity. Audits are a farce. I know what I know and wish I did not.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Well, if you WOULD do it....why don't you? Fancy speak/talk from the ill informed and apologists for a most flawed and dangerous institution. Time to sit down,'re taking risks which I understand is unchartered waters for you......otherwise you'd have a clue with respect to just how flawed a "system" SRS "child welfare" really is......shrug

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

"One of the great fictions of child welfare is the one in which child welfare agencies deny that they ever take children away at all. “We don’t do that,” they piously proclaim, only a judge can order a child removed from the home."

"In every state, child protective services caseworkers have the power to remove a child from any home they want at any time they want, if not at the snap of the fingers, then at least at the push of a “speed dial” button to call the police to do it for them. They don’t have to give notice to the family, they don’t have to go to court for a hearing – they don’t even have to call the judge on the phone."

In Kansas, recently:

--A judge admitted rubber-stamping removals even when SRS hadn’t really made a case.

--The Deputy D.A. in charge of child abuse investigations effectively endorsed taking away children solely because of poverty.

--The Deputy D.A. admitted that the 72-hour hearings are a sham – except in Sedgwick County.

--And most remarkable of all: The Deputy D.A. estimated that of all the children taken from their parents without a hearing in 2006, 80 percent of them were returned home or placed informally with a relative before that first court hearing.

But, of course, if 80 percent of the children you take away can be returned home or placed informally within a week, odds are most of them never needed to be placed in the first place.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago


Did you pay attention to this remark/fact: (?):

"Ask Rep Paul Davis about the findings of the KS Post Legislative Audits - falsifications of documents to wrongfully remove childlren - the cost for those children coming out of the general budget. And Guess what - the outcome of foster care is such that these children become adults that are still a drain on the tax payer."

These audits are current as in the past two years. have you troubled yourself to read them? Are you aware of the damning conclusions said audits disclose? I suspect you are not. Keep drinking that JimJonesLike Kool-Aide.

As for commuting.....oh boy! Let's hope the two of you can each commute the same direction and save some money. VERY early on with respect to this matter, I posted a link for the Van Pools. Hope that Brownback & Company don't do away with them........

Then again, driving in your own ride; listening to your own tunes; picking your nose when you feel the need; sucking on that herb based product; etc.....are all things that are not part of a Van Pool.

Oh yeah....when do you think SRS "social workers" are going to need to prove they too are not drug abusers and smoking that whacky tabaccy? If applicants are going to have take this test, shouldn't the "social workers" be more than happy to lead via demonstration? If families who have had their children wrenched from their family and placed in "foster care" must be subjected to urine tests.....just is too much like right that the person holding control over the future of said family also PROVE they ain't a a reefer smoker or a meth head, right? Heck...just a couple of years back the Lawrence SRS office had a worker who was using her desk to hide brownpaper sacks full of cash money from the sales of crack cocaine. Remember? Her supervisor supported her to the end, too. Seems that the school board member who gets time off from SRS work to do school board work is fully oppossed to the testing of SRS social service staff with respect to illegal substances.....and yet it's just perfectly fine to start testing applicants for public assistance for use of illicit substances? One hand washes the other.......right? shrug

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

So I guess it's ok with Isense (Lsense too) that it's ok for SRS "social workers" to be puffing on County weed whilst they remove children from the homes of fellow reefer smokers? Excellent choice! Long live the Kaw Valley Hemp Pickers.......

Sunny Parker 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe some of the abuse will be stopped and people will stop producing little ones that they can't feed!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 8 months ago

"Officials working on SRS deal remain mum about closed-door proceedings" Isn't that the main reason for having closed-door proceedings?

trinity 6 years, 8 months ago

Methinks Alceste has some mad deep issues. This incessant vitriole against social workers just is beyond crazy! Take a pill, Alceste...and hey keep that whole "shrug" thing up at the end of your posts, making sure your shoulders go high enough to knock against the sides of your head.
shrug and an ~eyeroll~ thrown in for good measure.

Alceste 6 years, 8 months ago

Again, get your hands on the unsanitized version of The Rushmore Report, circa 2005 if you want some really interesting reading about the internal workings of all the local SRS offices statewide, including the KC Metro Region and the Lawrence Office in particular. Very little, if anything has changed since the production and subsequent burying of this report. The findings of massive dysfunction from within were astounding. The unsanitized version now.....not the "final version".

4accountability 6 years, 8 months ago

Where would someone lay their hands on "The Rushmore Report"? I do understand what you mean about sanitized vs unsaniitized. I have known of annual reports that went to the legislature by law only to have the originating agency revise the document after the fact for their use going forward.

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