Size of Kansas foster care population up 18 percent

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The size of Kansas’ foster care population has swelled 18 percent over the past six years, and child welfare advocates blame high turnover among caseworkers, parental drug addiction and cuts to programs that help poor families.

“I really think something needs to be done,” said Diana Frederick, executive director of Douglas County CASA, the agency that provides volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates to work with abused and neglected children in state custody. “Things are enough of a concern that we need to acknowledge that there is a problem and we need to work together to find a solution.”

Children are usually removed from their homes because of neglect, and leave the foster care system when they rejoin their families, are adopted or reach age 18. State data shows that the 2009 fiscal year is the last time more children were exiting the system each month, 312 on average, than were entering, 260 on average. Since then, the numbers have gradually flipped, with 317 children entering the system on average each month in FY 2015, which ended June 30, and 286 leaving the system.

Over the six-year span, the foster care monthly average jumped to 6,257 children in fiscal year 2015 from 5,317 in 2009, state figures show.

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Secrets won’t protect children

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(Photo: Michael Schennum / The Republic)

The public's right to know is more than some noisy neighbor's curiosity.

When it comes to child safety, the level of openness can determine whether a child protection agency gets the scrutiny it needs to improve or simply uses secrecy to hide its mistakes.

Arizona's failed former child welfare agency was stealth-prone.

The agency that replaced it last year, the Department of Child Safety, was born amid promises to be more transparent.

Lawmakers, supported by Gov. Doug Ducey, are moving in the right direction.

But there are troubling shadows of secrecy.

For example, Ducey's office is refusing to release a whistle-blower complaint made against Greg McKay, who is now the department's director. It was made by the department's general counsel, Allister Adel, when McKay led the agency's Office of Child Welfare Investigations.

INTERVIEW: Child-safety director shakes up agency

In response to a Feb. 20 public-records request from The Arizona Republic, Ducey's office claimed attorney-client privilege, saying the memo from Adel was covered under attorney-client privilege and was not subject to disclosure, according to a statement to The Republic from Ducey's spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato.

Openness would be a better approach.

There were tensions last month when Ducey fired Charles Flanagan as the department's chief and put McKay in the job. A lengthy memo from McKay criticizing Flanagan's handling of backlogged cases preceded the change. Under Flanagan, the department's internal-investigations unit had investigated McKay and other employees.

When McKay took over, he eliminated the internal-investigations unit.

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Hope in God (I)

…it is such an important aspect of education to challenge the legitimacy of this widespread extension of state power. We have to begin to train the next generation to recognize that this expansion was never legitimate, and should never have been supported. There has to be a rethinking of the moral foundations of the culture with respect to the expansion of the welfare state. The next generation needs to be convinced that there are institutional alternatives to the welfare state, and these alternatives are legitimate. Not many people are involved in preaching this message of deliverance. This is why every little voice counts.[1]

Resisting the preposterous claims of the welfare state, when so much of the community is dependent on the welfare state, won’t grant you instantaneous popularity today. Those who have their snouts in the trough of government money will not love you and send you bouquets. And of those who don’t, many find the notion of a reduction, let alone an elimination in welfare to be a confusing or baffling suggestion.

But then, when the whole superstructure comes crashing down never to be re-built, it is critical there be individuals and organisations who had identified its inherent flaws, saw the cracks in the walls widening, and articulated/explained the need for massive change, and how to go about it.

The change must firstly be one of attitude. Welfarism has always promised much but provided little, unless you were a bureaucrat or politician. What has given welfarism away initially to Christians has been its consistent atheism, its hostility to marraige and the family, and the persistent gulf between its promises and its performance. Can any society deny God and survive, long-term?

We have had to trust that welfarism couldn’t survive whilst almost daily, the cracks and flaws in its superstructure seem to widen locally, nationally and internationally.

The Europeans where welfarism began under Bismarck in the 1880’s, are locked into a spiral of decline due to centralisation, massive government debt, high taxes, along with futile government attempts to manipulate the economy to health, that haven’t and cannot work.

Japan has experimented yet again with massive doses of Keynesian economic shock treatment, which have made the patient begin to lose his hair and colour, and feel more sickly than before. Now he’s saying, “Dr, I feel terrible!”

The US is mired in debts and stupid wars, and is so far into the tunnel there is clearly no light, especially at the other end. And no one at a national level has an appetite for change, or sees that the freight-train is nearing the precipice.

“Problems? What problems?”

I do not think the present ideology in favour of the welfare state can survive the demise of the finances of the welfare state.[2]

There will have to be individuals and institutions ready, when it finally goes pear-shaped. Preparation is firstly theological, spiritual and ideological, before it is anything else. Just like the Pauline epistles, we have to begin with the theological and ideological, then move onto the practical, and it all has to be fundamentally Christian in outlook.

The promise of the gospel is clear:

A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law (Isa. 42:3-4).

This is why we can be confident and have hope, because the promises of God apply today, just as they did when Matthew quoted from this passage in Matthew 12:18-21. Yes, ugliness will certainly come when the system we have known for so long in the West comes unglued.

But if we believers in Jesus Christ can understand that this has been the result of generations of rebellion against God, we may very well be able to lead the world out of the hole it has dug itself into, with Biblical solutions to the challenges of education, health and welfare, to name just a few.

This is what we have to be prepared to do, and it begins with an ideology of freedom and Biblical responsibility, something almost unheard of today, except by people of the Bible.

Are you ready for that?

 

 

[1] Gary North, “Cracked Walls and State Legitimacy,” (www.garynorth.com), 21/11/2014.

[2] Gary North, “The Setting for Serious Reform,” 17/5/2013.

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