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Children in foster care in Kansas and Missouri deserve better


The agency also must more effectively track children who leave their assigned foster homes without permission. “One child away from placement is one too many,” Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. In Missouri, first lady Sheena Greitens has announced a ...


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Well-positioned advocates are toiling away in both states, but waiting years for more financial support only endangers more children Michelle Kumata File illustration Well-positioned advocates are toiling away in both states, but waiting years for more financial support only endangers more children Michelle Kumata File illustration setLeadImageSize(); $(window).resize(function() { var clientWidth = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0); if (clientWidth > 767) { $('.lead-item').find('.caption').hide(); $('.lead-item .lead-caption').show(); } else { $('.lead-item .lead-caption').hide(); } setLeadImageSize(); }); $('.lead-item img').click(function(){ var elemWidth = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0); if(elemWidth = scrollEndPos || windowCurrentPos Too few families willing to helpSoaring numbers of kids in the systemHigh caseloads for workers keeping watch. The good news: Well-positioned advocates in Kansas and Missouri are pledging to push anew for reforms to safeguard our most vulnerable childrenThat’s critical and a foundational responsibility of our state governmentsAfter all, it was Hubert Humphrey who once said that the moral test of any government is how it treats its elderly, the sick and, of course, its children. In Kansas, the new secretary of the Department for Children and Families is pledging a more transparent operationThe agency also must more effectively track children who leave their assigned foster homes without permission. (function() { var randomUrl = getRandomUrl('http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=174,http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=180,http://x.email.kansascity.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=176'); var eventMethod = window.addEventListener ? "addEventListener" : "attachEvent"; var eventer = window[eventMethod]; var messageEvent = eventMethod == "attachEvent" ? "onmessage" : "message"; $("", { "class" : "col-xs-12", "src" : randomUrl, "scrolling" : "no", "frameborder" : "no" }).appendTo("#newsletter-signUpWidget"); eventer(messageEvent, function(e) { if (randomUrl.indexOf(e.origin) != -1 ) { var key = e.message ? "message" : "data"; var data = JSON.parse(e[key]); switch(data.messageid) { case 100: var signupevent = new CustomEvent( 'signup', {"detail": data} ); window.dispatchEvent( signupevent ); break; case 200: $('#newsletter-signUpWidget iframe').css('height', data.iframe.height); break; } } }, false ); })(); Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW “One child away from placement is one too many,” Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. In Missouri, first lady Sheena Greitens has announced a new study aimed at helping Missouri recruit more foster parentsAn estimated 60 percent of new foster parents quit within a year. “We want foster parents to know that they are respected, trusted and valued as they step up to protect and care for our kids,” Greitens said. The first lady is dedicated to foster care — for good reasonHer parents adopted Greitens’ little sister when Sheena was in third grade. Both Greitens and Meier-Hummel surely would agree that talk is cheap, and the need to follow through in their commitments to improved foster care systems is essentialLots of good intentions have knocked around both states for decadesThe need for significant new financial resources is a given, and that’s especially challenging at a time when both states have enacted sizable tax cuts that have placed other critical programs — think state highways, for one — in dire need of new funding, too. In Kansas, lawmakers are under a state Supreme Court order to spend hundreds of millions more on schoolsThat means new funds for foster care are in jeopardy even though the system is so stretched that case workers have been forced to house children in agency offices. Coming up with more money “is going to take time,” said Kansas state RepLinda Gallagher, a Lenexa Republican who’s working on the issue“It won’t come as fast as anybody would like it.” That may be political reality, but it’s also unacceptableFoster children thrust into a system shrouded in unnecessary secrecy need our help now. A University of Kansas study just determined that newly enacted restrictions on welfare benefits are leading to an increase in foster childrenLawmakers should examine thatThey also don’t need to wait for the results of a task force to know that case workers are overworked, sometimes handling as many as 50 cases when loads half that size are considered big enough More foster parents are needed, and that means boosting state financial supportLow reimbursement rates via the state’s Medicaid system have led to a decline in the number of psychiatric facilities available for troubled kidsNow only eight centers serve the entire state, and that’s unacceptable, tooThe computer network serving the foster system is so antiquated that it, too, adds to the dangers for foster children. Foster kids deserve a whole lot moreAnd they deserve it now, not years down the road. !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{},utils={getCanonicalLinkHref:function(){for(var links=document.getElementsByTagName("link"),i=0;i-1}}}(); !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{};if(console&&console.log&&console.log("Tout SDK: "+ +new Date),!TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt){TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt=new Date,TOUT.EMBED_CODE_VERSION="1.2.0";var sdkHost=TOUT.SDK_HOST||"platform.tout.com",sdkProtocol=TOUT.SDK_PROTOCOL||("https:"==window.location.protocol?"https:":"http:"),analyticsHost=TOUT.SDK_ANALYTICS_HOST||"analytics.tout.com",analyticsProtocol=TOUT.SDK_ANALYTICS_PROTOCOL||sdkProtocol;TOUT.onReady=TOUT.onReady||function(func){return TOUT._onReadyQueue=TOUT._onReadyQueue||[],TOUT._onReadyQueue.push(func),TOUT},TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel=function(trigger_name,attrs){var img=new Image,url=analyticsProtocol+"//"+analyticsHost+"/events?trigger="+trigger_name;for(var attr in attrs)attrs.hasOwnProperty(attr)&&(url+="&"+attr+"="+encodeURIComponent(attrs[attr]));return img.src=url,img},TOUT.init=function(brandUid,options){options=options||{};var sdkScriptId="tout-js-sdk";if(document.getElementById(sdkScriptId)&&!options.forceInit)return TOUT;if(brandUid=TOUT.SDK_BRAND_UID||brandUid,"undefined"==typeof brandUid||"string"!=typeof brandUid||0===brandUid.length||brandUid.length>7)return TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel("sdk_log",{log_level:"error",log_message:"BRAND_UID_NOT_DEFINED",content_page_url:window.location.href}),console&&console.error&&console.error("TOUT - Invalid Brand UID: "+brandUid),TOUT;TOUT._initOptions=options;var script=document.createElement("script");script.type="text/javascript",script.src=sdkProtocol+"//"+sdkHost+"/sdk/v1/"+brandUid+".js",script.id=sdkScriptId,script.className="tout-sdk";var firstScript=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];return firstScript.parentNode.insertBefore(script,firstScript),TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel("sdk_initialized",{content_brand_uid:brandUid,sdk_embed_code_version:TOUT.EMBED_CODE_VERSION,content_page_url:window.location.href}),TOUT}}}(); 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mi.commenting.setConf( { accountName: mi.pageInfo.getConf('marketInfo.domain'), fbapp_id: mi.pageInfo.getConf('facebook.app.id'), fb_comment_div: {'data-width': '100%'} }); mi.commenting.display(); FB.XFBML.parse(document.getElementById("fb-comments")); } toggleComments(); }); $(document).ready(function(){ toggleComments(); }); } else { var disabledText = 'Comments have been disabled for this story.'; $fbComments.prepend("" + disabledText + ""); } //toggleClass() wasn't working in IE the first time if it has the class function toggleComments(){ if ($fbComments.hasClass('in')) { $fbComments.removeClass('in'); $commentContainerChevron.removeClass("rotate"); }else { $fbComments.addClass('in'); $commentContainerChevron.addClass("rotate"); } } })(); Videos More Videos Video Link copy Embed Code copy Facebook Twitter Email Branden Mims speaks about gun violence at candlelight vigil for Daryl Singleton Branden Mims, pastor of the Greater Metropolitan Church of Christ and member of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime speaks at a vigil Thursday evening for Daryl Singleton, who died Dec7 in a shooting outside the liquor and grocery store where the school cook worked a second job as a cashier. if ( typeof allowAds === 'undefined' ) { var allowAds = true; 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