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 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.
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.
A federal waiver that allowed about 20,000 unemployed Kansas residents to receive food assistance will be allowed to expire at the end of the month.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families says able-bodied adults with no dependents would need to work for at least 20 hours per week to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP or food stamps.
Kansas is the 16th best state in the nation, in terms of overall child well-being according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in this year's KIDS COUNT Data Book. The report covers 16 measures of child health, economic well-being, family and community, and education. But while Kansas is in the top-third overall, the economic picture for kids in Kansas is not so bright.
Contracts have been awarded to four vendors, who will take over the duties of child support collection in Kansas next September. State officials say those who avoid paying their obligations can expect a more aggressive approach.
Kansas Department for Children and Families spokeswoman Theresa Freed predicts the four contractors will increase the amount of child support collected in Kansas. She says the department projects an increase of $52 million dollars in collections over the three-year contract period.