Rep. Jarrod Ousley of Merriam added his name to a letter calling for a legislative audit of the Kansas Department of Children and Family Services sent out last week. The letter says “the specter of alleged wrongdoing by the Department of Children and Families now clouds cases which are already difficult enough.”
Ousley also attended a meeting of the Legislative Post Audit Committee last week where the committee did not immediately approve of an audit, but created a subcommittee to develop an audit proposal. “We’ve got children’s safety as risk,” Ousley said, expressing his disappointment with the delay.
The letter was signed by a number of attorneys who act as Guardians Ad Litem appointed to advocate for the best interests of the children. Privacy protections prevent anyone from bringing evidence of wrongdoing, the letter contends. “Absent protections … a legislative audit or investigation remains the only means by which a completely closed system may be transparent to the public.”
“Heaven forbid something happens to a child between now and then,” Ousley said of the delay in the audit. “(There is) potential they have dropped the ball and we are not going to know without an audit.”
“In recent days, concerns which have long been held by attorneys and personnel who work within this system have been brought to light,” the letter reads.
The department has come under scrutiny for allegations of discrimination against same-sex couples, the privatized child support system and the safety of children in foster care. Gov. Sam Brownback also has called for an examination of the foster care and adoption system.