Kansas Department for Children and Families

kac.org

Kansas child care advocates say the state’s new welfare law could jeopardize a $42 million federal grant. State officials disagree.

The welfare law at issue was passed by conservative Republicans to tighten eligibility requirements and move low-income Kansans off welfare and into jobs.

Some of the changes in the law could make it harder for some welfare recipients to maintain their eligibility without interruption, says Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO of the nonprofit advocacy group Kansas Action for Children.

Stephen Koranda

When a company hires a new employee, Kansas law requires that the worker's name be reported to the state. That's so the state can deduct child support payments from the worker's paycheck.

A new educational campaign in Kansas is aimed at getting more employers to comply with that law. Trisha Thomas, with the Department for Children and Families, says when employers don’t report new hires, court-ordered child support payments can be interrupted, discontinued or delayed. She says state agencies will be using TV, radio and print ads to educate employers.

Twitter / Sam Brownback

Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a controversial welfare bill on Thursday. It would cut the lifetime limit on cash assistance from 48 months to 36 months.

As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it also says welfare recipients can’t spend the money at places like movie theaters and swimming pools.

Opponents say the bill stigmatizes low-income Kansans and might limit access to needed benefits. It’s also attracted some national attention. Here’s Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

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The state Department for Children and Families is catching heat for social media comments that critics say were too partisan.

On its Facebook page Friday, the Kansas DCF accused the left of "mocking the State of Kansas" and said it has "stood in the way of progress."

The post defended restrictions approved by the Legislature in April on how welfare recipients can spend their money.

The Facebook post:

Simon Li, flickr Creative Commons

Despite our mild weather lately, winter is far from over. Now’s the time to apply for a program that offers help when it comes to paying heating bills this year. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is now accepting applications for its Low Income Energy Assistance Program or (LIEAP).

The number of Kansas children in state custody has risen to all-time highs as the number of child abuse and neglect complaints also is climbing.

About 7,000 children were in state custody at the beginning of June, including more than 6,100 in out-of-home foster care placement.

Kansas Children’s Alliance executive director Bruce Linhos says workers and government officials are struggling to find a cause for the increase.

Gov.  Sam Brownback is making a major push to improve the state’s mental health system. The governor's plan creates a behavioral health sub-cabinet within state government, targets substance abuse for its role in exacerbating mental illness, and increases financial investment in current treatment programs, among other things. 

The Kansas Department for Children and Families--or DCF--has created a new, temporary program to help people who rely on propane for home heating.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families will stop using federal grants to help low-income residents sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

"We simply do not believe taxpayer dollars should be used to recruit people to be on welfare," said DCF spokeswoman Theresa Freed.

The federal program had awarded grants to five groups across Kansas, to help low-income residents apply for SNAP funds.  The state notified the groups of the change on September 30, one day before the grants were to be renewed.

Kansas Childhood Poverty Group Releases Report

Sep 6, 2013

A panel appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback is recommending several strategies for reducing childhood poverty, including strengthening marriages, improving educational opportunities and reforming welfare-to-work programs.

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