The Kansas Departments for Children and Families (DCF) oversees foster care, adoption, family preservation services and food stamps. The Kansas Departments for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) manages mental health and programs for the elderly and disabled. The Department of Corrections (DOC) runs juvenile justice services for children charged with crimes.

Many times, families involved with more than one of these agencies find it hard to navigate through different state departments with different points-of-contact and requirements. They can get lost in the bureaucratic red tape and, as a result, not receive the services they need in a timely manner.

What the Administration Is Doing?

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly submitted an executive reorganization order to merge the state’s DCF and KDADS with the juvenile services division of the DOC into a new, all-encompassing Kansas Department of Human Services. This could significantly strengthen families and keep them safely together.

The new Kansas Department of Human Services (KDHS) has the potential to be more efficient and improve assistance to families who need services from several of the specialized areas. 

Recently, while looking at juvenile justice reform, the state found that successful efforts to keep children out of the juvenile justice system shifted some youth, many with mental health challenges, into the foster care system. Under the proposed KDHS, all social welfare programs would be housed within the same state department, allowing for a coordination of services and an increased focus on prevention to keep children out of both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

How Can I Help?

The Kansas Legislature has 60 days to act before the reorganization takes effect on July 1. Kansas residents should tell their legislators they support Governor Kelly’s executive reorganization order to create the Kansas Department of Human Services. The KDHS can streamline services for the state’s children and families and deserves support!

  • Call or email your senators and your representatives. You can also contact the leadership in both the  Senate and the  House.
  • Tweet and post Facebook messages to your representatives and senators as well.
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