A watchdog for child welfare agency not happening this year

Twice, Rep. Jarrod Ousley introduced bills that would create a watchdog over the Kansas agency in charge of looking after children from troubled families.

It’s a massive department hounded by stories of overlooked abuse cases and foster children caught in punishing patterns of shifting from one temporary home to the next.

Ousley says he’s dropping the idea of a state child advocate. For now.

Instead, the Merriam Democrat wants to give the new Democratic administration a shot at reforming the Department for Children and Families before bringing in an outside office to look over its shoulder.

The office would have the power to review investigations and decisions made by the DCF, but it would be housed in the Department of Administration. That separation is key for child welfare advocates, who want to ensure DCF can’t retaliate against an advocate who turns up mistakes or wrongdoing.

 

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Scott City, KS 67871

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