Kansas Department for Children and Families

Stephen Koranda

The State of Kansas will pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the mother of a four-year-old boy who was beaten to death by his father shortly after leaving the state’s foster care system.

Most of the $412,000 settlement will be paid by TFI Family Services, which was one of the state’s foster care contractors at the time of child’s death in 2013.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Sedgwick County will hold its annual Child Support Bench Warrant Amnesty Day on Friday, offered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The event is targeted at non-custodial parents who have fallen behind on child support payments and are facing arrest. Parents can pay $500 or two months' worth of child support -- whichever is less -- to have their bench warrants lifted.

An arrest affidavit has been released by Harvey County District Judge Joe Dickinson detailing abuses of two children by their adopted parents in north Newton.

In the affidavit, investigators tell of beatings, starving and other abuses to two of three children who had been adopted from Peru. The adoptive parents, Paige and James Nachtigal, did missionary work there. James worked in Newton as the CEO of Kansas Christian Home, a care facility for the aging. The couple was arrested in February.

Trevor Coultart / flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Department for Children and Families announced a new effort to increase child support collections for Kansas families. The agency’s Child Support Services division has started sending text messages to remind non-custodial parents of their obligation.

The text messages are an attempt to encourage people to pay their child support. Texts will be sent out when the parent is 45 days late with a payment.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A panel of Kansas lawmakers has voted not to audit a state agency to see if there’s discrimination against same-sex couples. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, an audit would have looked for discrimination when it comes to foster care and adoption.

In a letter to the committee, the head of the Kansas Department for Children and Families said the agency doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples. That was enough for Republican Sen. Jeff Longbine to suggest they hold off on an audit.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Nearly a quarter of social workers with the Kansas Department for Children and Families left the job in the yearlong period ending Dec. 1, and job vacancies increased by more than two-thirds at the same time.

DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore told the House Children and Seniors Committee on Tuesday that recruitment and retention were areas of focus for the agency, and its strategic plan also pointed to a need to hold on to employees. But that’s a challenge for DCF in part because social workers can make more money with other employers, she said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR, File photo

The head of the Kansas Department for Children and Families says concerns over discrimination against same-sex foster parents are causing a distraction.

The comments from Secretary Phyllis Gilmore came at a committee meeting at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Gilmore said the allegations are being politicized and taking focus away from other issues.

“If ever the distraction of that issue for political means results in a child’s death, I would say shame on the legislators who are politicizing it,” Gilmore says.

A foster family's structure should be an important factor when Kansas places abused and neglected children in temporary homes, a legislative panel said Monday in a recommendation that one lawmaker said would encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

A House-Senate committee studying foster care issues wrapped up its work just minutes before lawmakers opened their annual session.

The foster care study approved a recommendation that the Department for Children and Families use "evidence-based" factors in placing foster children.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A Kansas legislative committee has concerns about the way the state is handling the placement of foster children, but the committee delayed taking any action until next month.

Rep. Jim Ward wants an audit of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, because he says evidence of wrongdoing can’t be released due to confidentiality laws. The Wichita Democrat says an audit could reveal discrimination by DCF against same-sex couples.


Gov. Sam Brownback says he favors an audit of the state's foster care and adoption programs.

The governor made the comments Tuesday amid criticism that the Department for Children and Families discriminates against same-sex couples in adoptions and foster care.