foster children

Dave Ranney / KHI News Service

A Kansas district court judge is raising concerns about reports that state officials are considering policy changes that would prohibit couples who aren’t married from being foster parents.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Less than three weeks after signing a bill that’s expected to drop 700 youngsters from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday urged more Kansas families to open their homes to abused and neglected children.

Since 2007, the number of children in need of foster care in Jackson County has nearly doubled. We speak with Denise Cross, President and CEO of Cornerstones of Care, about what accounts for the increase of need in the area. We also examine how the community is accommodating and caring for children in need of a home.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, you can call Cornerstones of Care toll-free 855-778-5437 or visit

A state senator who’s proposing a controversial overhaul of the state’s foster care system said on Thursday that he’s decided not to propose paying some foster parents “significantly higher” rates if they meet certain conditions, such as being husband and wife and barring tobacco or alcohol from their home.

“My suggestion is that we change the bill and remove the payment part completely, and expect them to volunteer,” said Sen. Forrest Knox, a Republican from Altoona.

A bill in the Kansas Legislature would create a new class of foster homes. They would have to be heterosexual couples married at least seven years, with no tobacco or alcohol in the home, and they would have to attend a regular social gathering like church. The families would be paid more than other foster care providers.

Republican state Sen. Forrest Knox, who is a licensed foster parent, says the foster care system in Kansas needs some changes. He believes these requirements will provide the best environment for kids.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Department for Children and Families on Tuesday said that Deputy Secretary Kathe Decker and Prevention and Protection Services Director Brian Dempsey have left the agency.

Anna Pilato, director of the department’s divisions for strategic development and community and faith-based initiatives, is due to leave later this month.

Kansas welfare officials said Friday that they have suspended placing foster children with TFI Family Services, pending investigation of the death Thursday of an infant left in a hot car in Wichita.

TFI formerly contracted with the Kansas Department for Children and Families to provide foster services and continues to have foster homes as a subcontractor to the state's current lead foster care contractors, KVC Behavioral Healthcare of Olathe and St. Francis Community Services of Salina.

Online Tool Helps Match Foster Children, Families

Jun 27, 2014

The University of Kansas and a child advocacy group have developed an online tool that helps social workers match adoptive families with children in foster care.

The tool, called Every Child a Priority, or ECAP, uses statistical analysis and technology to figure out which families are most likely to meet a child’s needs.

“Essentially, ECAP is an enhanced matchmaking service for children and families,” Mike Patrick, chief executive at TFI Family Services Inc., said in a prepared statement.

Cathy Mores / KHI News Service

The number of Kansas children in foster care has reached an all-time high. The explanations why vary.

In April, there were 6,156 children in the system. That’s 356 more children than in April 2013 and 872 more than two years earlier.

Dona Booe, chief executive of the Kansas Children's Service League, sees the escalating numbers as evidence of a building crisis.

Foster children often overcome a great deal in life. Many have to take charge of their own wellbeing at a young age, and learn to navigate a complex system of care-providers from state to local agencies.

But the real obstacles can begin when they leave the system. In a number of states, children age of out foster care at 21 years old, but in Kansas it is 18. 

On today's Central Standard, we explore the foster care system in Kansas.


Some years ago Mike Fox, traveling in Thailand, learned about the plight of Karen refugees fleeing political repression in Burma.