2-year-old boy's death spotlights call on KS lawmakers to fix issues with DCF

WICHITA, Kan. The death of a 2-year-old boy at a south Wichita home and charges of murder and child abuse against his parents in the case again put a spotlight on the Kansas Department for Children and Families and a call for state lawmakers to address issues identified within the agency.

FactFinder 12 has been looking into issues with DCF for several years, including plans from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to change the agency.

Last year, Kelly ran her campaign for governor in part on fixing issues at DCF. She called on lawmakers to help revamp the agency during her State-of-the-State address in January.

Kelly, who took office in January, used the speech to highlight some of the children who died from abuse within the past few years.

Kelly's budget for DCF included $9 million in new funding, money that would go toward hiring more than 50 child welfare workers.

In the Wichita area, high-profile criminal cases involving deaths of young children include Evan Brewer , who died in 2017 and Lucas Hernandez , who died last year.

For Carol Brewer, hearing about cases like Zaiden's lead her to reliving her own family tragedy.

Brewer's nephew, Evan Brewer, was murdered nearly two years ago under the care of Evan's mother. Brewer says after the family finally got the paperwork they requested from the Kansas Department for Children and Families, details were missing. She wants more transparency.

"There were a lot of discrepancies, DCF did come forward and publicly say that they had some issues with the records and things were removed from the records that shouldn't have been they were altered," said Brewer.

Kansas Representative Jim Ward says something has to be done at the state level and is hoping the governor's plan will help.

"We haven't hired more social workers, we haven't raised the qualifications, we haven't done a lot of the things that these advocates have identified as ways to improve the system," said Ward.

Brewer says these families need help. She wants to know how many more children have to die and says she's frustrated knowing another child has now been murdered by a parent.

Ward says more funding will help on the governor signs the bill

"This is victory for every abused child in this state who needs our help that the system will be there" said Ward.