The State of Kansas has awarded a contract to St. Francis Community Services for the management of foster care services in Sedgwick County. Youthville, the former provider, will continue to provide services, subcontracting through St. Francis.
The Wichita Eagle reports that the Department for Children and Families says that nothing will change.
“We hope it will be seamless,” DCF spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said of the transition to new contractors. “We’ll continue to provide the same services. We believe the services will be better. We’re not reducing any services.”
However, local foster parents say they have already been warned that they should expect a reduction in the amount of money they receive each month.
Foster parents in Kansas generally receive $21 per child, per day, a paltry sum to raise a child on. But some children, those with disabilities, behavior disorders, or those who simply present a significantly higher challenge might receive $36 per day, still, a very small amount of money.
Local foster parents have been told that the state will only be providing $21 per day for these children, who do actually cost more to raise. These kids have doctor’s appointments that have to be kept, causing their foster parents to miss work. Some of these children may have trouble functioning in school, which can also cause parents to miss work.
These foster parents’ regular paychecks, from their non-foster parenting jobs, just got smaller due to tax increases from Washington. And now, thanks to the State of Kansas, they will be receiving another $15 dollars less each day, if not more.
Special needs children simply cost more money to raise, and we are hardly giving them any money to begin with. These are literally some of our state’s most vulnerable children, and now, the people who have dedicated their homes and their lives to these children, will have less money to spend on them.
As a former foster child in this state, I can personally attest to the fact that foster parents are often working class families, with children of their own, who open their homes to those children who are among the least fortunate in our society. And they usually do so at a financial loss.
Our Governor, Sam Brownback, has repeatedly claimed that he will reduce childhood poverty in Kansas. By all accounts, his plan revolves around taking money away from the poorest children in this state. And, because his administration is well-known for retaliating against dissent of any form, the foster parents are silenced…