Governor Laura Kelly today announced the Department for Children and Families (DCF) will rebid the state’s family preservation grants and revise the grants awarded to foster care contractors during the previous administration.

“After careful review, it is clear there are flaws in both the family preservation and foster care grants awarded by the previous administration,” said Kelly. “Under the direction of Secretary Laura Howard, and in partnership with the Department of Administration, we will work to resolve the inconsistencies and shed more light on the process.”

Thursday morning, DCF sent letters to Eckerd Connects and Cornerstones of Care terminating the previously negotiated grants for family preservation services in Kansas. These contracts will be rebid. In addition, Saint Francis Ministries, KVC Kansas, TFI and Cornerstones of Care were notified of the state’s intent to reopen negotiations on the foster care grants announced in November.

“It is not our intent to completely restart the process on the foster care grants,” said Howard. “We want to continue to work with our valued partners to ensure the grants are structured in a way that provides more stability during the grant transition and additional clarity in the roles of both the grantees and DCF. To be clear, we look forward to working with our current contractors to solve these issues and believe that adding new partners will bring long-term stability and years of experience into the child welfare system in Kansas.”

To ensure a transparent process moving forward, DCF will issue a new request for proposal (RFP) for family preservation services through the Department of Administration. In addition, representatives from the Department of Administration will join DCF staff to assist in the foster care grant negotiations. This will ensure proper procedures are followed.

“As a senator, I served on the Child Welfare Task Force and I voiced my concerns regularly about the lack of transparency in the Department for Children and Families,” said Kelly. “Rest assured, fixing the problems in this agency, working with advocates and being open about the process is of critical importance to my administration.”

To allow time to complete the RFP process and additional negotiations, DCF is extending the current family preservation contracts by six months and foster care contracts by three months.