Today, Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed April as Child Abuse Awareness Month in Kansas. This proclamation recognizes the importance of building safe, healthy, thriving communities to support the wellbeing of Kansas children and families.
“The future of our state depends on the wellbeing of our children,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “It’s up to us to protect our youngest and most vulnerable Kansans. During April, I urge all Kansans to familiarize themselves with the signs of abuse and the Kansas Protection Report Center’s resources.”
Under the Kelly Administration, the Kansas Department for Children and Families settled a 2018 class-action lawsuit brought by child welfare advocates to establish specific accountability reporting requirements and improve child welfare outcomes. In 2020, DCF improved its placement stability rate performance, reducing the rate of moves for children in their first year of foster care from 10.0 in September 2019 to 5.7 in October 2020.
“In April and throughout the year, it’s up to all of us to ensure our youngest citizens have what they need to be safe and their families have what they need to thrive,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said.
During the pandemic, DCF distributed more than $10 million in grants and benefits through the Hero Relief Program to keep children safe during COVID-19. Additionally, DCF partnered with community organizations to distribute food to Kansans in need through the Disaster Household Distribution Program and distributed $48 million in P-EBT benefits to over 160,000 families whose children qualified for free or reduced-price meals.
As one of the first states to implement Family First, Kansas employed 12 evidence-based prevention programs in October 2019. Since then, nearly 1,500 families have been referred to services and of those children who received services, 90% successfully remained at home without the need for foster care.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected in Kansas, please contact the Kansas Protection Report Center (KPRC) at 1-800-922-5330. Kansans can find more information about prevention and protection services for child abuse and neglect here.
To view the proclamation, please click here.