The Wichita Regional Director for Family Services with the Department for Children and Families has stepped down.
Bill Gale resigned Tuesday night. He has held the position since 2014.
Evan Brewer was found dead in his Wichita home last year despite repeated attempts by other family to get the state to investigate. They have been very vocal about what they see as problems with DCF, but they don't think Gale's resignation will solve all the problems with DCF.
"Until all of that program can be on the same page, we're not going to see adequate protection of children," said Evan's cousin and family lawyer, Shayla Johnston. "What we would prefer is there would be less governmental intrusion on what parents can do to protect their own children, and right now DCF isn't cooperating in being transparent and allowing parents that type of knowledge, so we can protect our kids."
She said she doesn't know how Gale's resignation will impact the organization's future.
Acting DCF Secretary Gina Meier Hummel issued a letter Tuesday afternoon stating the department decided to move in a different direction in the Wichita region.
Hummel said Kansas City Regional Director Tammy Thomas will serve as Wichita Regional Director until the position is filled. She starts March 5. David Arnold will fill Thomas' position in Kansas City in the interim.
Read Meier's entire letter below:
I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to each of you for your commitment to serve the children and families of the Wichita Region. During my recent visit to the Wichita service center, it was clear that you are passionate about the work you do, and I am grateful for each of you.
I know that you share my concern about recent tragedies involving children in your community, and understand on a very personal level the scrutiny the agency is under. As you recall, when I took this position, the Governor and I promised a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s operations, which is ongoing and will continue to evolve over time. I can tell you, we have some policy and procedure changes coming fairly immediately. Additionally, we’re working very hard to hear and be responsive to the concerns expressed by staff and stakeholders.
Given these factors, we have decided to move in a different direction at the regional director level in the Wichita Region, effective immediately. Bill Gale is stepping down from his position as regional director.
Bill has done great work in the last four years, helping the region transition to a new and improved Wichita service center, building bridges with community organizations and improving the morale of staff members. I thank him for his efforts on some of these important initiatives and goals.
In the interim, Kansas City Regional Director Tammy Thomas will serve as Wichita Regional Director until a permanent regional director can be identified. David Arnold will fill in as Kansas City Regional Director in the interim. Tammy is an infectious and dynamic leader, and I trust she will help empower and move the region forward in some critical areas. David is a standout leader, in his own right, and will continue to move that region forward in Tammy’s absence. In the meantime, my commitment is to search for and find a Wichita Regional Director who is knowledgeable of agency operations and will strive for excellence. This will be an internal and external search for the right candidate. If you have any recommendations of individuals with a relevant skill set and interest, please let me know. Again, thank you to Bill for his service to Kansas children and families.
Tammy will begin her work in the Wichita Region, on Monday, March 5. DCF Chief of Staff Kathe Decker will be available in the Wichita Region in the meantime. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Kathe at Kathe.Decker@ks.gov. I will be in Wichita to meet with the leadership team and office staff on Friday, March 2. Feel free to discuss with me any questions or concerns you have at that time.
Kansas Department for Children and Families