New governor to replace DCF chief; grants on hold


January 4, 2019 - 4:01 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly announced Thursday that she will replace the top administrator at Kansas’ troubled child welfare agency and successfully pushed the departing leader to put new, major grants to private contractors on hold.

Kelly is a critic of the grants from the Department for Children and Families to five nonprofit organizations, committing to higher spending on services for troubled families and abused and neglected children in foster care. Kelly, a veteran state senator, has long been a key player in state budget debates; the department announced the four-year grants just days before Kelly’s election in November, and they were to take effect July 1.

Kelly takes office Jan. 14. Departing Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer and some GOP lawmakers credit Meier-Hummel with improving the department and the child foster care system. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, said he had hoped Kelly would keep Meier-Hummel on.

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