Agency head says foster care system in Kansas is improving

photo by: Associated Press

In this July 25, 2019, photo, Laura Howard, the top administrator at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, answers questions during an interview in Topeka, Kansas. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The head of the Kansas agency responsible for foster care in the state told lawmakers improvements have already been made in response to a scathing federal report and the settlement of class-action lawsuits over care foster children are receiving.

Laura Howard, secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, testified Tuesday in the first of several legislative hearings concerning the system that are scheduled to last through the fall.

Lawmakers said the hearings were a good time to review the foster care efforts after a report from the Office of Inspector General released last month found that DCF didn’t comply with safety standards in 24 of the state’s 31 group homes, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

DCF disputed some of the report’s findings but generally agreed with its recommendations, which included stricter checks on the homes to ensure compliance.

The report came weeks after the state agreed to an out-of-court settlement with three nonprofits in a 2018 federal suit that demanded better care of foster kids.


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