Kansas Department for Children and Families

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

All that Michael Sykes has to show for his months-long quest to get his mother’s nursing home bed covered by KanCare is a pile of paperwork.

Sykes has already appealed an initial denial of his mom’s coverage and been turned down again. He’s mulling his options. But even before the denials, he was struggling to get answers.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Updated Thursday, 4:23 p.m.: Kansas News Service's Andy Marso reports that Sterling Dental has reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on payments and will no longer suspend services to Kansans on the Medicaid backlog.

Original story:

dcf.ks.org

From AP:

Kansas welfare officials plan to have agency staffers perform all annual foster home inspections by midway through next year.

The Department for Children and Families officials updated lawmakers Wednesday on the agency's efforts to respond to a highly critical audit and other reform efforts. Among other things, it plans to have staffers instead of contractors conduct the annual inspections of foster homes, due to potential conflicts of interest, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

dcf.ks.org

In July, an audit blasted the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) for not doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. A legislative panel has received an update on what the agency has been doing to respond to the findings.

DCF communication director Theresa Freed says the department has already put multiple changes in place.

There are additional improvements coming in January, with stricter polices on required monthly visits to check on foster kids. She says there will also be more scrutiny of Kansas foster homes.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A legislative committee says lawmakers and other state officials should more closely monitor the Kansas foster care system. As Stephen Koranda reports, that is one of the recommendations that came out of a joint committee meeting yesterday.

The recommendations come after a state audit earlier this year, which said the Kansas Department for Children and Families wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of kids in foster care. One of the recommendations says lawmakers should create a panel that will more closely monitor and review foster care in Kansas.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid. Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July.

The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

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.

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