WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Department of Children and families is trying to be more transparent when a child dies in its custody. A new bill at the capitol would allow DCF to release more information related to the death. Governor Jeff Colyer released a statement outlining the proposed legislation. Among the improvements Colyer adds a list of information to be released:
- The age and sex of the child
- The date of the fatality
- A summary related to the department’s processes and procedures of any previous reports of abuse or neglect received by the secretary involving the child and the findings of any said reports
- Any department-recommended services provided for the child.
The body of 3-year-old Evan Brewer was found encased in a concrete structure this past September. According to court records, DCF had been called to the home on numerous occasions before Evan’s body was found. Today, the Brewer family released this statement in response to the new proposed legislation.
“Our family is not impressed with HB 2728. Once DCF actually complies with current disclosure laws, we will send kudos to Topeka. Until then, we await DCF’s required production of Evan’s entire case file to his parent, Carlo Brewer, pursuant to K.S.A. 38-2212(c)(2). Thus far, we still only have DCF’s procedural summary of events leading to Evan’s visible, predictable and preventable death.”
Evan Brewer’s family sends a clear message to Topeka: creation of this measure was a waste of taxpayer resources. Start leveling penalties against the DCF Secretary for failure to disclose to “necessary” accessors. Then, we will be impressed.
In greater detail, HB 2728 merely restates that DCF is permitted to disclose a summary report for any publicly-known abuse or neglect allegation involving a child, regardless of fatality. This permission is already provided in K.S.A. 38-2212(d)(3)(B). Adding subsection (f)(3) to this same law only serves to confuse and further limit DCF’s pre-existing permission to require summary disclosure in the event of fatality or near fatality. Why not just replace the word “may” with “shall” on line 23 of K.S.A. 38-2212(d)(3)(B)? This provision is an illusory, and mediocre, response to the public’s demand for greater.”
The family lawyer told KSN that the Brewer’s are still demanding that DCF provide Evan’s full case file to his father, Carlo Brewer. The family adds that they are waiting on the details on how the agency responded to multiple complaints about Evan’s safety.
“In reality, DCF is permitted to provide the same information in any allegation of abuse and neglect, as a child and just chooses not to do so,” said family lawyer, Shayla Johnson.
KSN will continue to follow this story and bring updates as they become available.