Tags: kansas | foster children | missing

Missing Foster Children and the Kansas Bureaucracy

Missing Foster Children and the Kansas Bureaucracy
Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, asks DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore a question after learning the results of an audit of the department Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in Topeka, Kan. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Saturday, 04 November 2017 11:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In Kansas there is a group of “One Percenters” that I’m reasonably sure not even the most fanatical Occupy squatter would envy. These are the 70 foster children that are currently missing and their whereabouts unknown.

The Associated Press reports that way back in August three sisters — ages 12, 14, and 15 — ran away from a Northeast Kansas foster home and haven’t been seen since. “Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, told a child welfare task force meeting that when she asked the Kansas Department for Children and Families about the missing children on Tuesday, the agency knew nothing. She said after the meeting that she was ‘flabbergasted.’”

This type of publicity is bad for bureaucracies, to say nothing of bureaucrats, so the DCF immediately deployed the bureaucrats’ all-purpose question deflector and cover-up tool: Privacy regulations.

DCF chief Phyllis Gilmore claimed “she can't discuss the missing sisters. She said in a statement Wednesday that the department has long had policies in place to attempt to find missing foster children quickly and that many are returned to their foster homes swiftly.”

But evidently not these particular sisters.

The department also claims the missing children represent one percent of the total foster population in Kansas of 7,100 and that number is in line with the national average. Which is correct, if misleading. AP ran the numbers and found “The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that during the federal government's 2015 fiscal year, about 4,600 children in foster care were listed as runaways, or 1.1 percent of the nearly 428,000 total.”

Be we aren’t talking about error rates in the manufacture of widgets. These are human beings and in the case of the sisters, human beings that are very young and very vulnerable. Over two months without any contact, it goes without saying, is two months too long.

Foster placements in Kansas are outsourced to KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services. Chad Anderson, chief clinical officer at KVC Kansas, isn’t exactly a ball of fire when it comes to updating the state on the welfare of his charges.

He mused, “I don't know that we as contractors have shared as much in terms of missing youth and the day to day as we probably should.” That’s putting it mildly when we note KVC only informs the state every 30 days about missing children, meaning the sisters could have been gone a month before Topeka got the news.

It looks to me like statistical conformity has bred a case of complacency in the Kansas foster care system. Let’s pray the legislature can put enough pressure on the state bureaucracy and the contractors to make sure these missing sisters are the last siblings whose disappearance goes unnoticed.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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In Kansas there is a group of “One Percenters” that I’m reasonably sure not even the most fanatical Occupy squatter would envy. These are the 70 foster children that are currently missing and their whereabouts unknown.
kansas, foster children, missing
549
2017-18-04
Saturday, 04 November 2017 11:18 AM
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