Class action lawsuit challenges state foster care system Featured

Class action lawsuit challenges state foster care system KVOE News file photo

A class action lawsuit filed against Gov. Jeff Colyer, Department of Children and Families Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel and the leaders of two other state agencies says foster children are moved so often that they can be considered homeless, even though they are wards of the state.

The Kansas City Star says the lawsuit alleges children have been treated poorly enough so they run away from foster homes or suffer mentally. The suit also says foster children have been victims of sex trafficking, sexually abused in foster homes or -- in one documented case -- reportedly raped in a child welfare office.

The suit represents 10 children in state care, including two brothers who had 15 separate placements over the past eight months and one child who had different placements almost every night for three straight months.

DCF says it has made several changes to improve child safety and strengthen the overall foster care system. It says the number of vacant positions has dropped from nearly 21 percent to 8 percent and the number of missing or runaway youth dropped from 81 in August 2017 to 55 earlier this year.

DCF is under fire for a separate issue. When it announced its new contracts for case management and preservation services, it chose Eckerd Connects for family preservation work. Eckerd has been under the microscope in Florida for its oversight of the foster care system there, and The Star says Eckerd was warned in June it could lose its $77 million contract in Florida if it didn't create a corrective plan and stick with it.

There are about 7,600 children currently in foster care.

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Last modified on Sunday, 18 November 2018 08:16