Governor plans to merge Kansas social services agencies

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly plans to merge state agencies providing services to poor and troubled families, the elderly, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled into a single large department.

Kelly said Wednesday that she believes Kansas residents now served by the Department for Children and Families and the Department for Aging and Disability Services will benefit from having a single “point of entry” into state government.

Her plan also would move juvenile justice programs from the Department of Corrections into her new Department of Human Services. Her administration is stressing that it’s not a move to cut costs or employees.

Current DCF AND KDADS Secretary Laura Howard will lead the new KDHS.

The governor said the new agency will provide services fro vulnerable Kansans including keeping at-risk youth off the streets and out of jail.

“Creating this new agency, provides us the opportunity to strengthen families and support individuals by focusing on prevention, delivering enhanced services and forging stronger connections with our community partners,” said Gov. Laura Kelly.

“Putting a greater emphasis on prevention across all of the systems that would be encompassed through this new agency. That’s particularly important when we think about youth and providing those supports and services before a crisis takes place,” said DCF and KDADS Secretary Laura Howard.

No one will lose their job with the consolidation.

Governor Kelly will submit the executive reorganization order to the legislature within the first 30 days of session. The order becomes effective on July 1, following its transmittal to the Legislature, unless either the Senate or the House takes action within 60 calendar days after submission.

Programs included in the new agency will include:

  • Adult protective services
  • Adult behavioral health
  • Long-term services and supports
  • Economic supports
  • Employment supports
  • Children’s mental-health supports
  • Child protective services
  • Juvenile justice and crossover youth
  • Foster care
  • Prevention
  • Licensing, credentialing, survey and certification
  • Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex
  • Larned State Hospital
  • Parsons State Hospital
  • Osawatomie State Hospital
  • Kansas Neurological Institute

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