Governor Creates New Child Welfare Office

Governor Laura Kelly has created an independent office to review complaints against Kansas’ foster care system and recommend changes in child welfare policies.

The Democratic governor’s move to create the office by executive order bypasses the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Kelly issued an order to create the Division of Child Advocate within the state Department of Administration, whose head reports to the governor.

The governor would appoint the new division’s director for a five-year term.

Many Republican legislators have argued that the governor shouldn’t have a hand in the appointment because the new office monitors state agencies under the governor’s direct control.

The Republican-controlled Senate in March approved a proposal for a child advocate in the attorney general’s office, only to see it stall in the GOP-controlled House.

A House committee approved its own, bipartisan plan, but GOP leaders never scheduled a full House debate.