Fifteen community members will be on the task force. They include members of the NAACP, St. Francis Ministries and Comcare, among others.
One of the new members tells KSN what the community can expect.
“There is a lot to dissect on where it all broke down, but I think that is really what it is, he needed help and we did not provide what he needed,” said Mike Fonkert, with Kansas Appleseed.
Fonkert said it was important for him to join the task force after the death of Cedric Lofton.
“Understanding those gaps and failures of the system are one of our priorities, making sure there is accountability in some form for this terrible terrible situation,” said Fonkert.
Officials for the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County said the time for change is now.
“The legislature is in session currently, so each and every one of us lobbies the legislature for different functions,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner David Dennis.
Dennis says reform is possible with potential money from the state and county leaders looking to their own budgets to boost mental health resources.
Commissioner Lacey Cruse said while the task force is a step in the right direction, she would like to see an outside source investigate what went wrong.
“In addition to, not instead of, we need a neutral third party outside audit review of all of this and we need that collaborative effort too,” said Cruse.
The task force will hold its first meeting on Thursday, Feb. 3. The hope is within three months, the group will have a final report of recommendations to improve mental health services, foster care, law enforcement, and more. The results will be presented to the city, the county, and the state.
St. Francis Ministries will have a member a part of the task force. Morgan Rothenberger, the executive director of marketing and communications shared this statement below:
We look forward to supporting the Wichita community in any way possible as they explore ways to bring healing to children and familes.
“In child welfare, we often say that we all must work together because it truley does take a community of people to support at-risk young people and families. Young people are deserving of our best efforts to help them and set them on a positive path forward”Morgan Rothenberger, executive director of marketing and communications for Saint Francis Ministries