Department Secretary Says Foster Care Improving

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 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.