Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Kansas State Disproportionality Task Force releases its report and recommendations

Longtime readers of the blog may remember that we have been working to bring real reform to the Child Welfare system since 2004, and have posted numerous articles detailing our efforts since the blogs inception back in 2007:

08/2007: The Wichita NAACP joins with Youthville in an effort to encourage more African American families to become foster parents 
05/2008: Wichita Branch NAACP Legal Redress Chair to meet with Kansas SRS Secretary Don Jordon 
09/2008: Progress report on Sedgwick County Child Welfare issues 
11/2008: Governor Sebelius agrees to examine disproportionalities in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems 
12/2008: The Wichita Eagle reports on the Wichita NAACP's Child Welfare efforts 
02/2009: Current Branch Legislative and Policy Projects 
02/2009: Legislative Action Alert - CINC notification (HB2303) and Insurance Premiums and Credit Scores (SB203) need your attention 
03/2009: The Kansas Disproportionality Study Gets Underway 

As reported back in September of 2008 (see the "Progress Report" link above), a team from the Wichita Branch NAACP consisting of Mary Dean, Carolyn Wallace, and President Kevin Myles, traveled to the State Capitol to meet with the Governor's office and present the results of our multi-year internal study of Child Welfare issues. We asked at the conclusion of our presentation that the Governor would commission a more detailed and larger scaled study of disproportionalities in the Child Welfare system throughout the State. The Governor's office agreed and in November of 2008 Governor Sebelius announced that they would form a statewide taskforce to look at issues of disproportionality in both the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems. In March of this year, research teams throughout the State were formally assembled. Dozens of people were brought together from Law Enforcement, Child Welfare, Foster Care and placement, Corrections Staff, Legislators, Parents, Educators, concerned citizens, and the NAACP, all looking for ways to reform the system and eliminate the disparities...

The Task force has now completed it's work - the study is finished and the recommendations will now go to the Governor's office for consideration and approval. The Wichita Branch participated as a part of the Sedgwick County team. For us, this is the culmination of almost 6 years worth of study, travel, and work. Now we will gear up to lobby the legislature for the full adoption and funding of our specific and detailed recommendations.

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