Strengthening the Kansas Child Welfare System

Birth parents, foster parents, legislators, education leaders and others gather at KVC’s Community Forum in October 2017.

KVC Kansas is dedicated to strengthening children and families. We’re one of the lead nonprofits providing preventative and foster care services on behalf of the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Our priorities are to ensure safety; provide high-quality, effective services; and in order to accomplish those, support our amazing team of social workers, therapists, family support workers and other professionals.

Earlier this year, we shared an article called “Too Many Children in Foster Care: KVC Kansas Shares Challenges and Solutions.” This article contains an infographic that explains major changes that have happened over the last five years, and how we can work to address several challenges.

 


Statement on Recent Rape Charge

On Sept. 17, 2018, the Kansas City Star published an article called, “Foster kid in Kansas’ care reportedly raped at Johnson County child welfare office.”

The article describes an incident on May 5. Our staff immediately called law enforcement to the scene, however they did not arrest or charge the young man until 19 weeks later.

While we are prohibited from sharing most details due to the confidentiality of child welfare work, we did share this on our KVC Kansas Facebook page:

Since keeping children safe is our top priority, we are saddened by an incident involving a youth in care at our offices in May. We deeply regret that there was any opportunity – even for a brief moment, as was the case here – for such a tragedy to occur. We’d like to share a few more details with you.

On May 5, a KVC staff person was supervising three youth, per the correct supervision ratio (1 staff person to 3 youth). Unfortunately, the staff person left the room for a few minutes to get supplies. When the staff member returned to the room, a 13-year-old female reported that she had been sexually assaulted by one of the other youth in the room, an 18-year-old male. We acted immediately by calling law enforcement and they came to investigate. We also immediately took the victim to the hospital for forensic analysis and other services. Last week, the 18-year-old male was charged with rape in the incident. The employee on site during the incident is no longer employed at KVC.

Our 750 dedicated team members work hard, often long hours to care for children and families, but it appears one person made a lapse of judgment in this particular case. We are working to ensure accountability, provide additional training, review our policies and do everything in our power to prevent an incident like this from happening again.

We also added in a statement to the KC Star:

The safety of children and families is our utmost priority as our strong 48-year record attests. We work hard to keep thousands of children and families safe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if even one child in our care is harmed, we are deeply sorry and committed to doing everything in our power to assist with their healing process.  

 


Additional Articles from KVC:

 


KVC’s Performance on Federal Outcomes

KVC Kansas is exceeding outcomes in some of the most important areas like child safety, placement in family settings, placement with relatives, and keeping siblings together.

  • Child Safety in Foster Care – KVC is exceeding the contract performance outcome for preventing maltreatment in foster care. Compared to the national standard of 8.50 victimizations per 100,000 days in foster care (lower is better), our rate is 6.39 in the Kansas City Metro region and 6.45 in the East region.
  • Placement in Family-Like Settings – In both regions (Kansas City Metro and East), we are caring for over 93% of children in family-like settings instead of group homes. This exceeds the outcome standard of 90%. Read more about why and how we right-sized congregate care.
  • Placement with Relatives – Also in both regions, we are placing over 32% of children with relatives which exceeds the outcome standard of 29%. We also match a high percentage of youth with non-related kin such as neighbors, teachers, and coaches. The familiarity of these caregivers has a positive influence on children and safely reduces their time in foster care.
  • Keeping Siblings Together – In the Kansas City Region, we are exceeding the goal to place 78% of siblings together while in foster care. In the East region, we are 3% away from the goal and working quickly to meet it as the connection between siblings is so important.

Learn more about our vision for transforming foster care in America.

 


Statement on Contractor Fines

In response to the Sept. 28, 2018 article, “Kansas child welfare chief says contractors will be fined if kids sleep in offices,” we shared the following:

We agree with the Secretary that there are too many children in foster care, nowhere near enough placements, and the system is underfunded, but on penalties, we disagree. Thinking that financial penalties will improve an overwhelmed, underfunded child welfare system is counterproductive. We are a nonprofit organization and, despite the fact that this is a cost-based contract, we are already losing unsustainable amounts of money each month to keep children out of offices. The system desperately needs resources, not fines. Social workers on the frontlines need options, and children and families need more advocates. We agree that children should not sleep in an office. It’s never our choice for a child to stay in an office; when it’s happened, it’s because a full night of making phone calls to foster families, group homes, and treatment facilities resulted in no available beds. Solutions will be found in prevention, funding and capacity building; not penalties.

 


Get Involved – We Need You!

Want to get involved? We need everyone to play a role in strengthening children and families. Get inspired to help and advocate for others by watching these family success stories. You can also provide temporary care for a child in need, become a child’s permanent family through adoption, donate online, or browse open positions on the KVC team.

Visit the KVC Kansas website here or call us at (913) 499-8100. You can also connect with us on Facebook.