Bill creating foster care task force advances in Kansas House

? The Kansas House advanced a bill Friday establishing a task force to review the Department for Children and Families’ management and oversight of the state foster care system.

The call for a new task force comes on the heels of a series of Legislative Post Audit reports that documented problems with the foster care system, which the state privatized in 1997, including a finding that the state had failed to protect the safety of some children in state custody.

The bill establishes a bipartisan 18-member task force that would include lawmakers, judges, various professionals involved in child welfare cases and at least one foster parent. It would also include nonvoting members from DCF and the entities that contract to provide reintegration, foster care and adoption services.

The task force would make a report to the 2018 Legislature outlining recommended improvements needed to protect the safety and well-being of children. It would also make progress reports at the start of each legislative session through 2020.