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Newsroom State looks at new ways to ensure equal treatment for Kansas children

Governor Kathleen Sebelius today announced a new effort, under the direction of her Health and Human Services Subcabinet team, to assure racial and ethnic equity is a standard outcome across all Kansas child welfare and juvenile justice programs. Don Jordan, Subcabinet Chair and Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services, will lead this initiative.

 “Kansas must determine what is necessary to reduce the over representation of African American and Hispanic children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems,” Sebelius said. “Regardless of their racial background, children must receive the services needed to ensure safety in their home, timely permanency when removed from the home and positive well-being at every service point.

“Efforts to reduce the level of poverty in Kansas and provide supports for low income working families should have the added benefit of reducing contact with law enforcement and the courts. I believe if we begin to address the issues of poverty in our state we will be better champions of our most vulnerable citizens, and help them to achieve their dreams into the future.”

The Governor’s Health and Human Services Subcabinet team will be comprised of representatives from the Departments of Social and Rehabilitation Services; Health and Environment; Aging; Corrections; the Juvenile Justice Authority; Kansas Health Policy Authority; and the Federal Grants Office. The team will partner with agency officials, community leaders, experts and advocates to:

  • Understand the nature and causes of disproportionality in our state;
  • Understand the role poverty plays in contact with the child in need of care and juvenile justice systems in Kansas;
  • Identify jurisdictions that face particularly large issues of racial inequality in child welfare and juvenile justice programs;
  • Identify approaches to address these issues. 

The Subcabinet team plans to work closely with Representative Melody McCray-Miller and other legislative leaders who have been working on this issue specifically within the juvenile justice system, and report its findings and recommendations to the Governor’s office in the fall of 2009.

Voice 785-296-3232   Fax 785-296-7973


Children and Family Services Data Report