48.7 F
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Governor-elect Kelly ousts DCF Director citing lack of transparency and more

Sports Headlines

Chiefs Defeat Bills, 26-17, Behind Relentless Ground Attack on Monday Night

Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills, 26-17, behind a ferocious rushing game on Monday night as Kansas...

KNDY Area High School Football Scores – 10/16/2020

North Central Kansas League Augusta 47, Abilene 0 Chapman 37, Council Grove 6 Fort Scott 22, Wamego 18 Marysville 20, Clay Center 0 Riley County 44, Concordia 23 Twin Valley...

Kansas Athletics Announces Border Showdown Basketball Rivalry Postponed to 2021-22 Season

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Athletics announced today that due to the unique and difficult challenges COVID-19 has brought to the 2020-21 men’s basketball season,...

Jayhawks Game Preview: West Virginia

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Kansas Jayhawks travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday, October 17 at Milan...

COVID-19 Causes NFL Scheduling Shuffle; Chiefs at Bills Moves To Monday Afternoon

Following the postponement of the Week 5 Denver Broncos at New England Patriots game, the NFL announced today the following schedule changes: The Denver Broncos...
Derek Nesterhttp://sunflowerstateradiocom.wordpress.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations. In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

Governor-elect Laura Kelly announced Thursday that she will replace the top administrator at Kansas’ troubled child welfare agency, Gina Meier-Hummel, and successfully pushed the departing leader to put new major grants to private contractors on hold.

Kelly is a critic of the grants from the Department for Children and Families to five nonprofit organizations, committing to higher spending on services for troubled families and abused and neglected children in foster care. Kelly, a veteran state senator, has long been a key player in state budget debates; the department announced the four-year grants just days before Kelly’s election in November, and they were to take effect July 1.

Kelly takes office Jan. 14. Departing Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer and some GOP lawmakers credit Meier-Hummel with improving the department and the child foster care system.Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said he had hoped Kelly would keep Meier-Hummel on.

But Kelly announced Thursday that she would appoint Laura Howard as both interim DCF secretary and interim secretary for the Department for Aging and Disability Services. Howard is director of the Public Management Center at the University of Kansas but is a former administrator for state and federal social services agencies.

Kelly also issued a blistering statement calling the grants “essentially no-bid contracts,” questioning their legality and promising they would be reviewed. Kelly said she contacted the organizations to ask them to avoid spending state dollars until further notice.

Kelly said in a statement, “Despite our best efforts during the transition, accurate and forthright information from current DCF leadership was hard to come by.”

Department employees investigate allegations of abuse and neglect and recommend to judges whether children should be removed from their homes, but private contractors provide assistance to troubled families, manage foster children’s cases, provide them with services and get them placed in foster homes.

The department used a new process for awarding the new grants that removed oversight from the state Department of Administration and gave DCF more control. Kelly said it “has not been transparent.”

Meier-Hummel responded three hours later in her own, lengthy statement defending the department’s work during her yearlong tenure and confirming that the grants had been put on hold. Meier-Hummel said the department had been “fully transparent and forthcoming” with Kelly’s transition team, whose advisers include Howard.

Under the grants, the state would spend a total of $245 million on foster care services during the budget year beginning July 1. That would be an increase of $35 million, or 17 percent.
In recent years, the department has faced questions about several high-profile deaths of abused children after DCF was alerted to problems. Until September, some children in state custody slept overnight in foster care contractors’ offices, including a 13-year-old girl who in May was raped in an office by an 18-year-old man also in state custody. Complaints of a failure to follow through with proper investigations in multiple cases filed with DCF have been an issue of concern as well.

Kelly’s appointment of a single interim secretary for two departments also suggests that she might merge the agencies, said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. Together, the departments have an annual budget of $2.6 billion and more than 5,000 employees.

Howard was the expert on social services programs on the Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff before working as a state social services administrator and regional official for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Kansas Headlines

COVID-19 Kills 10, Infects All 52 Other Residents at Norton Nursing Home

NORTON, KAN – An outbreak of COVID-19 has occurred at a nursing home facility in Norton. The Andbe Home is a privately owned facility...

Resident Death at Ellsworth Correctional Facility

TOPEKA, Kansas – A Ellsworth Correctional Facility (ECF) resident who died Monday, October 19, 2020 had tested positive for COVID-19. This is the sixth...

Officer Involved Shooting in Colby

THOMAS COUNTY – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) responded to investigate an officer-involved shooting at that occurred at a rest stop...

Officer Involved Shooting in Andover

BUTLER COUNTY – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) is investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred at a Kwik Shop in Andover,...

Lyons police officer and another man shot

RICE COUNTY – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) responded to investigate an officer-involved shooting that critically injured a Lyons police officer.

Kansas News Service

‘It Is Not Sustainable’: Kansas’ Online Teachers Are Overworked And Quitting

WICHITA, Kansas — Less than a week into the new school year, the warning came: the school district’s COVID-19 learning plan expected too much from...

Kansas Nursing Homes Still Waiting On Coronavirus Testing Gear From The Feds, And Can’t Afford Labs

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service Phillips County Retirement Center got a coronavirus testing machine this month from the U.S. Department of Health and...

Scathing Federal Inspection Pulls Curtain Back On One Of Kansas’ Deadliest Coronavirus Outbreaks

By Celia Llopis-Jepsen - Kansas News Service At a Kansas City, Kansas, nursing home, employees tested positive for COVID-19 and went back to work the...

Federal Prosecutors Defy Court Order In Cases Over Attorney-Client Recordings In Leavenworth

By Dan Margolies - Kansas News Service The U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas City, Kansas, says it will no longer cooperate with cases brought by...

Emails Show Kansas Agencies Helped Keep Meatpacking Plants Open Despite Concerns About Coronavirus

By Corinne Boyer - Kansas News Service GARDEN CITY, Kansas — In mid-May, Finney County’s top public health physician sent an email to state health...