Leaders of the Recovery and Hope Network in Lawrence have started an online petition urging Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services to renew its contracts for mental health consumer-run organizations.
“Unfortunately, in less than 30 days, all Kansas CROs will begin permanently shutting down as their contracts with Kansas Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS) run out and the promised new funding proposal fails to be made available,” Kendall Simmons, the director of the Recovery and Hope Network, said in the petition.
The Recovery and Hope Network is what is called a consumer-run organization, or CRO. CROs, funded through state and federal grants. They are non-profit organizations run by adult mental health consumers that provide peer assistance for other people with mental illness. The network provides support groups, socialization activities, education and training. The Lawrence group, located at 1009 N.H., serves more than 340 people, and it is one of 22 CROs statewide.
Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for SRS, told the Lawrence Journal-World that the agency has decided to extend the contracts for CROs through Dec. 31.
“The CROs are being sent extension agreements that they need to promptly sign and return to us,” de Rocha said. “Once returned, SRS will process the extensions quickly to ensure timely payment.” De Rocha added, “SRS is grateful for the work these organizations do for the citizens of Kansas.”
But Simmons said SRS had not notified any CROs that the contracts had been extended.
And Simmons said given the performance of SRS in the past few months, she is unsure what the agency has in store for CROs.
“No one is telling us anything,” she said. “It is really stressful for our folks,” she said.
Starting in the spring, the checks that SRS would send to the Recovery and Hope Network were being delayed. The June check due June 7 arrived June 30. The check due July 7 didn’t come until August, she said.
Last year, the Recovery and Hope Network received $66,200 from SRS. That amount has been cut to $64,214 even though the group is helping about 30 percent more people.
Asked why it is taking so long to get the contracts in order, de Rocha said SRS “is moving with due deliberation through the procurement process.”
She also said SRS is proceeding with competitive bidding for the services provided by CROs for the last six months of the fiscal year, which would be Jan. 1, 2012, through June 30, 2012.
Simmons said she doesn’t understand how the state would seek competitive bids for a peer-supported mental illness organization. “I’m not sure a lot of these folks understand what consumer run organizations are,” she said.