TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department for Children and Families announced a new collaboration with the Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to connect families to support networks and services by funding three community support specialist case manager positions.
“DCF and Wichita area law enforcement have a long history of working collaboratively at the Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit,” Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard said. “This new approach expands our partnership by supporting families in an effort to prevent children and families from entering the child welfare system.”
The Wichita Police Department will employ two of the positions and the third will be employed by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
DCF said the specialists will visit a family’s home when law enforcement identifies the home environment as in crisis or in need of support services. The specialists can make referrals to community-based services for parent skill building, home visiting, mental health services and substance use services. The workers also can connect families with education on safe sleep, parental peer support, public health and school district program support.
“The two new community support specialists embedded into WPD would not be possible without the collaboration with DCF,” Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “WPD is appreciative of this partnership, and the support specialists are essential in working hand-in-hand with law enforcement to ensure needed families are provided with support and services to be successful.”
“DCF and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office entered into an agreement at the end of 2019 to have a community support specialist embedded into the Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Jeffrey Easter said. “We already seeing positive results for the community due to the work the community support specialist is doing. We appreciate the collaborative effort with DCF to help families and in keeping kids safe.”
Additionally, law enforcement supervisors now have access to DCF’s child abuse and neglect information system known as KIPS. This arrangement provide important child welfare information to officers when responding to calls involving children and families.
“I believe that over time, this new initiative may lead to a reduction in the number of contacts a family has with law enforcement, reduced formal contact with DCF and prevention of child abuse and neglect,” Howard said.
Funding for the partnership comes from federal child abuse and neglect prevention programs.
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