Kansas’ Department for Children and Families recently moved their downtown, centrally-located facility to a former post office property located in SE Wichita. The move was criticized by some lawmakers, who stated that this would make it harder for low-income families to access the services they need.
The new facility is a large, fenced-in property that sits at the corner of George Washington Blvd. and South Oliver. Today, demonstrators protesting DCF’s child removal practices were informed that they were not permitted to protest on DCF property, and that they would have to remain on the sidewalk, outside of the fence, because the facility was private property.
The State of Kansas is leasing the property from KBPO, LLC, a private company located at 150 N. Market, in downtown Wichita. KBPO is owned by Steven R. Barrett, a real estate magnate who is also a part owner of the Old Town Warren Theater, and who is deeply involved in development in Old Town and with the Waterwalk project, projects which have been heavily subsidized by the City of Wichita.
On July 22, 2015, DCF announced that the agency would move its operations to the South Oliver facility. On July 24, 2015, two days later, Barrett gave Kansas Governor Sam Brownback a campaign donation of $2,500.