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Archive for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Local agencies say people will lose services, costs shifted if SRS office is closed by Brownback

July 19, 2011, 12:21 p.m. Updated July 19, 2011, 4:58 p.m.

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Agency responses to SRS closing ( .PDF )

More crime, more misery, and really no savings. That would be the end result of closing the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, according to numerous local agency and governmental entities.

The local representatives testified to Douglas County commissioners on Tuesday to help put together an appeal requesting that Gov. Sam Brownback reverse the decision to shut down the office, which deals with thousands of people each week.

“We think that the children and vulnerable adults in Douglas County could face harm and loss, and I cannot put dollars and cents to that," said Sky Westerlund, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Brownback and SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. have said the Lawrence office and eight others must be closed as a cost-cutting move.

Siedlecki has said eliminating the Lawrence office — the largest of the planned closures — will save the state $413,000; most of that is in rent that the state pays.

But representatives of nearly 20 local agencies at the meeting said the savings would be transferred as costs to them.

Most said if the Lawrence office is closed, many vulnerable residents would be unable to access services and would eventually require more expensive medical care.

They also rejected the notion by Brownback and Siedlecki that people could access services by traveling to offices in other cities, such as Topeka, Overland Park and Ottawa, or use the Internet or telephone.

Other agencies said they would see their travel costs and travel time skyrocket because they would have to take people to other cities. This would subtract from the time they have for helping others, they said. And many said they would have to hire more caseworkers and other support employees.

“It is almost going to double the amount of time it will take to work with some of these clients,” said Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter.

He said the SRS office closure seemed like an insurmountable challenge.

“It's almost like trying to deal with inconsistencies in the Bible,” he said. “You just kind of rub them together, and rub them together, and you deal with them.”

Laura Bennetts, co-chair of the Douglas County Commission on Aging, said the loss of the SRS office and social workers, would “be a crisis like losing emergency services at a hospital. We are so reliant on social workers. You cannot replace them.”

Several voiced concern that cases of child abuse would increase without the Lawrence SRS office.

Judy Culley, executive director of Shelter Inc., described how currently, SRS, the Douglas County district attorney’s office, law offices and various other agencies, work together on child abuse cases. Without a local SRS office with knowledgeable employees, she said, “time is lost.”

But state Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, said that in her conversations with administration officials, it was her understanding that SRS will continue to have child protection caseworkers in Lawrence “and have the ability to immediately respond.” SRS officials have also made this statement to the Lawrence Journal-World.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson, however, said in his talks with SRS officials, they haven't provided any details on how this would work.

“I will tell the commission, I am not optimistic.” Branson said.

He said that in talking with SRS officials, “When pressed, how many workers, where would they be housed, assigned -- they said to each one of those questions: ‘We don’t know.’ It stunned me,” he said.

He said even if a contingent of SRS employees are based in Lawrence, that won't make up for the loss of numerous social workers currently here who are able to work with families to prevent emergency situations.

“We would just be picking up the pieces once abuse and neglect occurs,” if the office is closed, he said.

Comments

rockchalk1977 2 years, 9 months ago

Merrill is any of this relevant to closing the SRS office in Lawrence? Btw you forgot to include links for 3 of your last 4 posts.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

WASHINGTON — A month ago, the most important issues in New York's 26th Congressional District were the budget deficit, jobs, health care and taxes. If Medicare was an issue, pollsters didn't ask about it.

By the time Democrat Kathy Hochul declared an upset victory over Republican Jane Corwin in the special election Tuesday night in the western New York district, Medicare was the defining issue.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Yesterday, in the first Wisconsin recall general election, Democratic state Senator Dave Hansen crushed his Republican opponent by a massive 66%-34% margin. Thump!! :)

Now it's time to move on to the main event—the six recalls against Republican state Senators on August 9. Democrats need to win three of those six in order to take control of the state Senate.

The latest polling shows Democrats way ahead in one and narrowly ahead in three more. We're winning, but it's super close.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

A purge is the removal of people who are considered undesirable by those in power from a government, ...

Think the Kansas legislature can get no worse? Bad news of the day.

Brownback and his big money backers are fixing to purge all republicans who do not blindly support Brownback. Brownback and his big buck supporters are not republicans. But they know running libertarian,christian fundamentalist or nazi would never get them elected.

This is not a new concept for these thinkers. It's been done before in a big way. That is why there is no republican party per se any longer. Washington D.C. was purged of republicans in congress. Jerry Falwell was boastful and soooooo proud. Lots and lots of facist corporate and christian fundamentalist money did the trick.

This is why my conservative republican father in law no longer supports the former repub party. It is dead. In a rather stunning move he has gone to work for the democratic party which in my view has become more like moderate republican.

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notleft_notright 2 years, 9 months ago

Ronald Reagan’s First Term – $656 billion increase

Ronald Reagan’s Second Term – $1.036 trillion increase

George H.W. Bush’s Term – $1.587 trillion increase

Bill Clinton’s First Term – $1.122 trillion increase

Bill Clinton’s Second Term – $418 billion increase

George W. Bush’s First Term – $1.885 trillion increase

George W. Bush’s Second Term – $3.014 trillion increase

Barack Obama’s First “Year” – $1.573 trillion increase

To summarize, the National Debt increased by huge amounts under each of these presidents. The largest increase for a complete term occured during George W. Bush’s second term. The largest increse during a single year occurred during Barack Obama’s first year.

Current Obama administration projections indicate that the National Debt will increase by approximately $6.5 trillion during President Obama’s first term. If that happens, then he will obviously overtake President Bush’s record increase in the National Debt.

http://thenationaldebtcrisis.com/the-national-debt-by-president/

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 9 months ago

Scott, this article should have been entitled "Local agencies say people will lose services, costs shifted if SRS office is closed due to the failed economic policies of the Obama administration." Gov. Sam is just trying to close the budget gap with consolidation. This happens all the time in the business world. With all the whining from the left, Brownback must be doing a good job. Four more years! Four more years!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Where is the SRS money going?

Is the Brownback admin reducing spending of merely reducing services?

Brownback is offering a lot of tax dollar give aways to new residents?

The question goes like this: What makes anyone think neoconservatives reduce spending?

81% of the national debt was accomplished by Reagan,Bush and Bush yet they were always screaming less spending and smaller government. None of which ever happened.

Is duped the word of the day?

Where is the money going?

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distant_voice 2 years, 9 months ago

Let's oppose the closing of the SRS office in Lawrence. In fact, lets protest and oppose every budget reduction currently being discussed or future budget cut proposed. Oh, wait a minute, that's already happening. And while we're at it, lets continue our opposition to any form of tax increase, except of course, for building a parking garage and a drive-up window at the Lawrence Public Library. Let's take every step we can devise to absolutely insure that our State and Federal governments' debt continues to skyrocket into the stratosphere, insuring that instead of spending tax money to help our citizens, we pay it instead to bankers and creditors as interest on our debt. Let's continue this path until our debt exceeds any ability the State has to pay and creditors cut us off. That way, we get to close ALL the SRS offices, stop all support to our State's needy, and get a real lesson in what it means when our governments go bankrupt.

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Centerville 2 years, 9 months ago

I liked the print headline " CRIME AND MISERY!!!! " Very dramatic!

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HollisBrown 2 years, 9 months ago

Get ready. You're gonna see more and more of this stuff happening. It's a raw deal, but I don't think it has as much to do with Brokeback as it does Microsoft. Look, in the not-so-distant future, everyone will be forced to have a computer. Let's look at the Dept of Labor. Until the late 90's, there used to be an unemployment office in every county. In most cases it was the Workforce Center, where you could file and get assistance with unemployment issues with a real person. At some point, the Dept. of Labor opened a call center and moved to a website. You now have 2 options to file unemployment, either the phone or the website. The workforce centers are not even allowed to assist you, accept in letting you use one of the phones. And forget calling. You're looking at a 1-2 hour wait, if your able to navigate the complex menu. The website works smoothly, just don't expect any personalized service. And where exactly is the unemployment office? It's somewhere deep in the DOL building in Topeka, but it might as well not exist since you can't actually go in there. There is a physical address but there is no one there to talk to. I used to work for a government contractor here in town, and they can't wait for our oldest generation to move on so the next generation on down will have computers and won't expect to see a human face. Virtual Society, here we come.

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MacHeath 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't know who is using who. Big business and big money using Christian conservatism to make more money, and keep it. Or Christian conservatism using big business to dictate to us their ideas of "family values" It is a marriage made in Hell.

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Kontum1972 2 years, 9 months ago

i heard the SRS office was going to be converted to a quik mart....

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bradh 2 years, 9 months ago

If they close the SRS office we're being told that the poor will go without medical services, etc. I don't believe SRS provides medical services and I doubt they drive their clients to the clinics, etc. I don't know, but I'm guessing SRS personnel mostly help fill out paperwork and make determinations on complaints they've received. They can make complaint determinations from any office, so what we seem to be missing is help filling out paperwork. We have so many interested parties here, most with cars, why don't we set up a bunch of volunteers to pick up the people needing services and take them to the library to fill out forms and then take them to the medical sevices. The poor get better service and everyone is happy.

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zxcvyuio 2 years, 9 months ago

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Daffy 2 years, 9 months ago

SRS customers need to practice what social security recipients have practiced since 1983 when one of the Greenspan commission's fixes included an adjustment to the consumer price index known as "substitution". It works like this: If steak gets too expensive and you start buying hamburger instead....well, you price of beef hasn't really gone up and your cost of living is unchanged. This is one of the reasons official CPI is running 3.6%, but if it wee still calculated the way it was before Greenspan went to work, it would be 11.1% Because Social Security benefits are keyed to CPI, this has resulted in a sustantial savings for Uncle Sam. But fast-forward 28 years and Uncle Sam has burned through all the trust fund money just to pay his bills, and "substution" alone insn't good enough. Hence, "chained CPI".

Under "chained CPI" if your hamburger gets too expensive and you start buying beans instead...well, your price of protein hasn't really gone upand your cost living is unchanged.

"Chained CPI" could cost the average SS recipient $720 a year in inflation-adjusted benefits, accordin to the Senio Citizens League.

SRS customers need to find a trick to survive like Uncle Sam does.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 9 months ago

This whole thing is not that big of a deal if the whiners would step back and think.

The support staff, those who take applications could still work in Lawrence but their supervisors could be in the out of area offices. Bert Nash, churches, Independence INC, the senior center, Salvation Army, Cottonwood, all have an extra room that they can donate for the workers who would stay in town to work from.

This seems more like an outcry because the clubhouse on 19th is being shut down.

Where is the outcry for some 85 year old WWII vet who has to drive over 100 miles round trip to the VA in Topeka for example? They don't count?

What about volunteers who deliver meals on wheels, who drive many miles and ask for nothing in return. Why can't some of the 1,000 petition signers start up a driving service to actually take an SRS client out of town if truly needed?

The sooner the office is closed, the sooner some reform may take place.

Do any of the SRS clients and staff plan to protest a closing of a local plant in the near future?

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Godot 2 years, 9 months ago

Too bad the taxpayers are already being hit with tax increases to cover that $18,000,000 community center called a library. Just too many "wants" to take care of the "needs."

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LHS56 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow.....can't believe how everyone seems to be picking on Branson. He is simply trying to do the job he was elected to do. And I think he has been doing a great job. Back off or we'll loss another good person and probably end up with another expert from Florida. (I know this is an elected position....just had to put my dig in...g)

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consumer1 2 years, 9 months ago

of course Branson would say anything to protect his party. He is a puppet !!

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lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

sorry folks, but the s.r.s. recipients will most likely move closer to the other towns with offices. i am sure there will be child protective and adult protective services still in lawrence. the t bus will have zero riders, the panhandler kiosks the city will be installing downtown will be a complete waste of money, and the people that work for some of these agencies that rely on s.r.s. clientele will be out of work.

on the bright side, lawrence will look more like boulder, colorado, since they ran the poor out of town years ago judging by their average incomes. boulder is what lawrence has tried to emulate for years.

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Floyd Craig 2 years, 9 months ago

well he needs to be inpeachd he hasnt done anythng good for the people of kansas yet except pad his pockets n his close friends pockets n I bet a fe of his relations get him out of thyere he aint dont any thing good for you or me

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autie 2 years, 9 months ago

somedude20, can come? I have a big bottle of gin.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Who funds the above back door groups? I say:

If anyone noticed the so called Tea Party is funded by the same sources that fund the extreme right wing thinkers like the Brownback administration:

  1. Koch Industry money

  2. Wal-Mart family money

  3. The Erik Prinz family money which are most noted for the Blackwater Mercenary Money

  4. The DeVoss family who made their fortune from a pyramid scheme known as Amway Products

  5. Pete Peterson foundation people who want to kill Social Security Insurance and Medicare Insurance

  6. Bush Family = quite famous not only for their bank robberies but oil and weapons dealings as well http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  7. The many other families and corporations who do not pay taxes BUT love the tax dollar handouts funded by middle class tax dollars :

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Unless a lot of people come together and sue the state for negligence and obtain a court injunction to prevent the SRS from closing I do not see Brownback changing his mind.

I find it difficult to believe that the State of Kansas can simply walk away from a lease contract for no apparent reason. Certainly there must be legal grounds for a lawsuit.

And I also question the legality of secret meetings by a group that is designing legislation for states across the USA. I firmly believe this group of neoconservatives christian fundamentalists and the corporate backers want to over throw the USA government.

Is this legal?

ALEC Exposed: State Legislative Bills Drafted by Secretive Corporate-Lawmaker Coalition

This week the Center for Media and Democracy released 800 model bills, legislation that is straight out of the corporate playbook and drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The group’s membership includes both state lawmakers and corporate executives who gather behind closed doors to discuss and vote on draft legislation.

ALEC has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months for its role in crafting bills to attack worker rights, to roll back environmental regulations, privatize education, deregulate major industries, and pass voter ID laws.

Thanks to ALEC, at least a dozen states have recently adopted a nearly identical resolution asking Congress to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop regulating carbon emissions. We are joined by Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media Democracy. http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/15/alec_exposed_state_legislative_bills_drafted

Koch Brothers, ALEC and Their Corporate Allies Plan to Privatize Government http://www.truth-out.org/publicopoly-exposed/1310660473

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moot 2 years, 9 months ago

Some people just want to watch the world burn.

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moot 2 years, 9 months ago

Of course. The kids always get a free pass. What a joke this entire state is. Once i'm finished with school I'm going to photoshop my degree to Rockefeller University or Devry.

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notleft_notright 2 years, 9 months ago

With all the money that the community is concerned about losing with diminished SRS coverage then the city should take one of them mT buses and run a daily route to the Topeka office of SRS.

Problem solved, we've got to compromise during these tough economic times. The citizens of Lawrence have to budge on the issues so the budget crisis can see progress.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 2 years, 9 months ago

"a crisis like losing emergency services at a hospital"

A perfect analogy. Like LMH closing down their ER.

"SRS is required by law to provide certain services, and shall continue to do so"

Depends on your definition of "provide". The services will be available... to anyone with a computer, computer skills, an internet connect, a reliable car and the money to buy gas. BTW: I just described the opposite of the typical SRS client. Uneducated, poor, no resources, no transportation: THIS is the typical SRS client.

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autie 2 years, 9 months ago

You are missing an eye? As well as a brain.

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SynjynSmythe 2 years, 9 months ago

Branson's alleged fears are unfounded. SRS is required by law to provide certain services, and shall continue to do so. All Branson is doing now is parroting the nonsense espoused by his sugar daddy, Paul Davis.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 9 months ago

They have been closing SRS down for years, particularly in rural Kansas. They now promote the following for school personnel, who are designated reporters: "Employees may file a report of suspected abuse anonymously to either the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) by phoning 1-800-922-5330 or to local law enforcement officials." If it's really nasty, I suppose you call the cops. Otherwise, it's "Press one if hubby is beating the kid; press 2 if the child is being abused by the neighbor, press 3 if.........." The real problem will be people who need nonemergency help and don't have a car or friends to drive them to another town.

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