Governor to merge social service agencies

By

State News

January 9, 2020 - 10:35 AM

Gov. Laura Kelly

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ governor plans to merge a state agency that has been under fire in recent years over abused children’s deaths with another social services department in the hopes that the state will focus more on preventing problems within potentially troubled families.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s announcement Wednesday was short on specifics about how persistent problems would be addressed by combining the department handling the foster care system for abused and neglected children with the agency that provides services to the elderly and disabled. But Kelly and her top social services administrator said the merger would create a “modern” department better able to protect the vulnerable.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has the power to block Kelly’s plan. Top GOP leaders reacted warily, criticizing Kelly for not consulting them before her announcement.

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