Wednesday's report on the Legislative audit into the Department for Children and Families doesn't address the speed or efficiency in bringing families back together, but that’s a major issue overall according to one state senator.
(FIND LINK TO THE FULL AUDIT REPORT BELOW)
“I take my hat off to those who open up their heart and homes to children in their time of need, however we need to be about the business of helping those families that are suffering,” says Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau. “They love their children. They feel that they are just stuck in this system.”
Faust-Goudeau says there needs to be an emphasis on helping both the children, and the families who are losing them. She plans to propose legislation that would set up a citizens review board, to help those families rehabilitate and reunite with their kids sooner.
“It would be a win-win for a citizens review board, of sorts, to help those families navigate through that system.”
“We have to be able to do what DCF stands for, Children and families. The goal is to reunite children with their families.”
Lynsey Tague, a mother of three, feels like she was getting no help as she tried to get her kids back. It took her a little more than two years, after the state placed her children in foster care, to be reunited with her children.
She says her kids should have ever been taken away, and she says ultimately a judge released them back into her custody.
“I think they make rash, quick decisions,” Tague said.
“It isn’t about helping them. It’s you go fix yourself and then come back and maybe you can have your kids. There was no support there for us as parents.”
Tague says case workers dragged things out, and on multiple occasions tried to get her to sign papers that would release her kids to adoptive care.
"It makes you feel like a failure, because they make you feel like that. They don't say 'good job, ok you got this class done. Let's keep moving.' Nothing was good enough."
The report released Wednesday afternoon is only part of the full audit. It answers three of the seven questions posed by Kansas Lawmakers.
The report finds that as of May 2016, DCF had only implemented one of nine safety-related recommendations from a 2013 assessment of child protective services.
You can read the full report