Kansas statute determining access to child care subsidy conflicts with federal regulation

Officials say a Kansas law violates federal mandates. The law denies child care subsidies to single parents who don't fully cooperate with a state welfare agency's pursuit of unpaid child support.


State News

March 16, 2023 - 2:32 PM

Steve Greene, a lobbyist with Florida-based Opportunity Solutions Project, said the Legislature shouldn’t repeal a Kansas law mandating families receiving child-care subsidies cooperate with the state agency enforcing child support payment orders. Photo by (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — A Kansas law denying child care subsidies to single parents who don’t fully cooperate with a state welfare agency’s pursuit of unpaid child support violates federal mandates, officials said.

State officials said Kansas relied on the statute to deny child care assistance to an average of 22 children per month. The law was put in place in 2015 under legislation signed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who asserted President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty was a failure and that Kansas needed a course correction to break the cycle of poverty in families.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families, and a collection of child-advocacy organizations, recommended Tuesday the House Welfare Reform Committee remedy the problem by passing House Bill 2179. It would repeal the Kansas requirement that a parent — even those fleeing domestic violence — coordinate with DCF’s child support enforcement staff to get the subsidy for child care.

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