Kansas Department for Children and Families

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.

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.

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