The state of Kansas’ privatized foster care system is a disaster.
The media reported multiple lawsuits about children in Kansas who were injured or had died.
Democrats pushed for a system audit, but in a Republican-heavy government, it narrowly failed.
Sen. Julia Lynn (R) said the legislature has “lost a collective will” to protect the “weakest of the weak” in the state:
“The kind of system we’ve created isn’t working.”
Kansas consolidated the number of companies contracting foster care in 2013 from four to two.
TFI lost its contract but became a subcontractor.
Kansas Department of Children and Family Services briefly halted new foster care placements with the Topeka-based agency after one child under its supervision died.
Kansas averages 6,000 children in foster care, and privatizing costs continue to mushroom to $280 million annually.
Lynn asked the cost of dismantling the privatized system and returning foster care to the state.
She was told the cost could not be calculated, because the legislature never fully funded it before privatization.
“We need to have in place measurables for our contractors.”
Rep. Mike Kiegerl (R) wrote:
“Children are not a legislative priority, and this committee faces an impossible task to find solutions to intractable, long-term problems which finally culminated in the horrendous death of two children.”
Minimal Or Missing Services:
- School attendance accountability
- After-hour help with local and county police
- The 24-hour DCF hotline phone line answered
- Reliable help outside the Topeka area
- Foster parent training in de-escalation and conflict resolution
Kansas uses unlicensed workers to investigate suspected child abuse and neglect, qualifying with a high school diploma.
Gay Parent Bias:
DCF pulled a child in foster care from gay parents, and they sued.
District Judge Kathleen Sloan said:
“In essence, DCF conducted a ‘witch hunt’ and made a concerted, purposeful effort … to obtain negative information … because they are homosexual women in a committed relationship.”
“We’re talking about trying to get children into the best homes we can. Could that sometimes be a homosexual home? Of course, but I still say that the preferred (situation) is every child to have a mom and a dad, if possible, but it’s not always possible.”
Director of Equality Kansas Tom Witt said her comments confirmed his allegations:
“Well, she just proved our point. Kansas Department of Children & Family Services has a bias, and it shouldn’t be part of their job.”
TFI Breeches In Child Safety:
Under TFI care, the following incidents have occurred:
- 2014 – 14-year-old girl tortured, 17 abuse reports ignored
- 2013 – Death of 4-year-old Mekhi Boone
- 2013 – 10-month-old girl died in hot car in Wichita
- 2011 – Death of 20-month-old baby from injuries during foster care
- 2009 – TFI concealed records of a 7-year-old boy’s history of attempting sex and physical abuse from adoptive parents who had refused to adopt a child with those tendencies.
- 2009 – TFI placed two minor children in a foster home with a known teen molester and was aware of ongoing abuse. Charges included: rape, sodomy and attempted murder.
Murder Of 4-Year-Old Mekhi:
As 4-year-old Mekhi Boone lay in the nearest children’s hospital, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Social workers and hospital personnel often visited his bedside.
Lawsuit records say:
“Children’s Mercy personnel including a medical doctor who had observed approximately 15,000 victims of child abuse, described (Mekhi’s) injuries as the worst ever seen for a child that age, and that there was not two inches of (Mekhi’s) body that did not have bruising on it.
“Family was not allowed to see or visit while he was being treated at Children’s Mercy. (He) died without his mother or family present.”
Mekhi’s mother filed a federal lawsuit against Kansas and TFI for placing her son with his father, Lee Davis, in spite of the man’s history of domestic violence and without notifying DCF.
While Mekhi’s father, Lee Davis IV, and his father’s girlfriend were prosecuted for murder, the boy’s mother alleges the “outrageous conduct” of Kansas and one of its contractors caused the death.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Gale rejected DCF’s argument that its investigative report and supporting documents should be kept secret.
These indicated TCI did not make required visits or take action, even after evidence of abuse began to mount.
So, just how does Kansas government sleep at night?