Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the termination of family preservation grants that were awarded last year under the previous administration. The awarding of those grants had drawn heat from the public because one of the agencies – Florida-based Eckerd Connects – had its Florida contract come under scrutiny by the state because of issues with youth safety.
In an interview with The Chronicle of Social Change last month, Kelly said the contracts would be one of the first things she reviewed in her efforts to reform the state’s child welfare system.
“I was serving on the child welfare taskforce when the previous secretary brought those to our attention,” Kelly said during the interview. “I opposed them then and I continue to oppose them. I’ll be looking for a way not to have to proceed with them.”
Kelly yesterday announced the termination of those grants to Eckerd Connects and Cornerstones of Care for family preservation services, and said a new rebidding process would commence. Contracts for foster care services – which were awarded last year to Saint Francis Ministries, KVC Kansas, TFI and Cornerstones of Care – will also be reopened to negotiations.
“It is not our intent to completely restart the process on the foster care grants,” said Laura Howard, the state’s new secretary for the Department of Children and Families. “We want to continue to work with our valued partners to ensure the grants are structured in a way that provides more stability during the grant transition and additional clarity in the roles of both the grantees and DCF. To be clear, we look forward to working with our current contractors to solve these issues and believe that adding new partners will bring long-term stability and years of experience into the child welfare system in Kansas.”
New request for proposals for family preservation services are being administered through the Department of Administration. Current family preservation contracts will be extended by six months to allow for the awarding of new ones. Foster care contracts will be extended by three months during the re-negotiation process of those contracts.