TOPEKA – The State of Kansas is leading the way when it comes to privatizing child welfare services, and governments across the world are taking notice. Today, a group representing the child welfare system in Singapore is wrapping up a three-day visit in Kansas to get a closer look at how our foster care and adoption programs operate.
“We chose Kansas because it is unique with privatization, and it is a successful system,” Tan Li Jen said, Senior Assistant Director of the Clinical and Forensic Psychology Branch, Singapore Ministry of Social and Family Development. “We appreciate the warm welcome we have received in Kansas.
On Wednesday, eight representatives of Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development met with Kansas Department for Children Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore and other staff, for a round-table discussion. Topics included recruitment of foster and adoptive families, resources for children who age out of the system and family preservation services.
“Although there is a great distance between the countries; many issues are the same,” Secretary Gilmore said. “We all want children to remain in their homes when it is safe to do so and we want children to feel stability and love.”
Singapore officials estimate that 1,000 children are in out-of-home care in their country, with 30 percent of those in foster care and the rest in residential care. The Ministry of Social and Family Development would like to move more of these children into foster care or into the community.
Since 1996, Kansas has been one of only a few states to privatize a majority of its child welfare services. On July 1, 2013, new foster care, adoption and family preservation contracts went into effect. Kansas is contracted with KVC Behavioral Health Care Inc. and St. Francis Community Services to provide child welfare services.
The delegates from Singapore are spending the remainder of their visit touring KVC facilities. The final stop on their three-city tour in the United States is New York. The group has also visited with the State of Illinois regarding its child welfare programs.
Secretary Gilmore visits with Singapore delegates.
DCF staff discuss child welfare with Singapore delegates
DCF staff and Singapore delegates participate in round-table discussion.