Two-year-old law is pushing Kansas kids into foster care


State News

November 20, 2019 - 9:01 AM

Jonathan Stahl has eight children, and seven came from the foster care system. He and his wife, who live in Olathe, specialize in taking in teenage boys with behavioral issues. NOMIN UJIYEDIIN/KANSAS NEWS SERVICE

Holes punched in walls. Car headlights smashed. Windows broken. Weapons, threats, sexual comments. Children who can’t live with other children. Children whom foster parents won’t take in. Children who aren’t able to get the mental health care they desperately need.

Kansas foster care contractors and parents say all of these situations have become more common — and more risky — since 2017, when the state made sweeping changes to the juvenile justice system. The changes, they say, removed options for dealing with foster children who have high needs and violent behaviors.

KVC Kansas and St. Francis Ministries — which recruit foster parents, facilitate adoptions and provide mental health treatment for the state — say this influx of older children with mental illnesses and behavioral issues has strained their resources even further.

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