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achieved that goal, SRS had to develop performance of Kansas children placed with relatives is greater than the measurements, which it incorporated into the contracts national trend, and that three-quarters of children who with private agency partners. Kansas was one of the first have a sibling are placed with their sibling. states to do this, and their performance measurements Early this year, members of the Joint Committee are congruent with standards in the CFSRs. In recent introduced four bills that would change SRS procedure. months, the legislature—specifically, the Joint One of these is a step back from privatization, relieving Committee on Children’s Issues— SRS of its authority to contract has questioned the contract bid- with private agencies for foster ding and awarding process that Learn about how one private agency care services, and returning the SRS follows. in Kansas with multiple locations, and responsibility for those services One question the committee other multisite agencies across the to SRS. At press time, this bill raised was whether private agency nation, are using technology to connect (H.B. 2461) was still in commit- their staff and improve their programs. contracts actually have a financial tee and had not been voted on. See ManagementMatters on page 20. incentive to keep children in fos- Meanwhile, SRS planned to ter care, rather than moving them celebrate May as National Foster into permanent homes, whether that means reunifica- Care Month with a focus on the safe reduction of the tion or adoption by kin or other foster families. Some number of children in care through prevention and relatives of children in foster care have garnered atten- timely permanency. Ponce notes that over the last several tion from the press and legislators in Kansas by alleging years there has been a renewed effort in Kansas to reduce that children were removed from their care without the number of children coming into care with “front- reason. Ponce is quick to point out that these few cases end” services. She describes a geographic disproportion- are “a small percentage of the caseload” across the state. ality within the state, with more children in care from “Family placements or other types of kinship placements some
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