The Death Of A Foster Child In Kansas Is Being Investigated: Last week, a foster youngster from Kansas ran away from his residential treatment center, stole a truck, and smashed head-on into a tractor-trailer, killing himself. The Kansas child welfare agency is now investigating the teen’s death.
The Death Of A Foster Child In Kansas Is Being Investigated!
The Department for Children and Families reports that the 13-year-old boy who crashed on October 27 in southeast Kansas passed away from his injuries on October 30 at a hospital in Tulsa.
The foster teen had been attending a Halloween party in Independence, Kansas, hosted by the qualified residential treatment center where he was staying (Successful Dreams) on the day of the crash. Child welfare officials and police in Parsons, Kansas, say that after the kid returned from the party, he or she fled the residential facility and stole the pickup from a car dealership.
According to a DCF account of events, “the Department for Children and Families is investigating the incident and is assessing the facility to determine if there were any regulatory breaches.”
On Friday, as news of the foster teen’s death spread, a Republican lawmaker with an interest in child welfare urged Governor Laura Kelly to fire Laura Howard from her position as secretary of the Department of Children and Families.
This is the second death of a juvenile who ran away from foster care in April. Louisburg’s Sen. Molly Baumgardner stated she had “consulted with Senate leadership” before calling for Howard’s resignation. Baumgardner told The Star that she was concerned about the lack of responsibility and transparency about the protection of foster children.
The situation has become far direr. It is intolerable that two DCF-cared-for minors under the age of 18 have died in the past six months.
On Friday night, Baumgardner finally got an answer to his request from the governor’s office. Brianna Johnson, the governor’s director of communications, said, “This is a heartbreaking instance, and Governor Kelly has directed DCF to examine what happened and whether any policy violations led to this accident.” Until we have all the information, any request for action is premature.
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On Friday night, Baumgardner finally got a reply!
To his request from the governor’s office. Brianna Johnson, the governor’s director of communications, said, “This is a heartbreaking instance, and Governor Kelly has directed DCF to examine what happened and whether any policy violations led to this accident.” Until we have all the information, any request for action is premature.
The system has also advanced toward fulfilling many of the requirements (but not all) of a class action lawsuit settlement. Ousley remarked that under Laura Howard’s leadership, “our child welfare system in the state of Kansas has achieved significant gains.”
And we should always have a responsibility because a tragedy is a tragedy no matter who’s in charge. However, I believe that Laura Howard has performed admirably in this instance. The Joint Committee on Child Welfare Oversight includes both Ousley and Baumgardner.
Baumgardner acknowledged that “there will be some problems about timeliness” regarding her request that Howard is fired. But she claimed that Kelly and Howard decided when it would happen. Baumgardner claimed the kid died last week, but nobody found out about it until this past Friday.
The Star asked DCF when they first disclosed information about the teen and if they should have told the public about his death when it occurred, but DCF did not respond. On Monday, the Parsons Police Department issued a press statement stating that they had received a report of a “runaway from Successful Dreams.”
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According to the announcement, on October 27, Parsons police officers assisted the Labette County Sheriff’s Department with a “head-on collision” between a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer. Officers responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle located at a 2022 GMC Sierra pickup with a juvenile driver’s license holder listed as 13.
While waiting for Labette County EMS to arrive, the officers performed CPR. The child was taken by ambulance to Labette Health, where he was stabilized prior to being transferred to a different hospital. Chief Robert Spinks of the Parsons Police Department reported that he found out later that the child had died.
It’s never simple to go through one of these crashes,” Spinks remarked in the announcement. They are challenging for the first responder who must use them. They are distressing to the public ear, but even more so to the families directly affected.
That was a major blow to our neighborhood. My deepest condolences to everyone affected. Earlier this year, the Kansas City area also experienced a devastating loss. Four days after authorities say Ace Scott ran away from an office for Cornerstones of Care, one of four state contractors handling foster care, his body was discovered on April 15.
By the time The Star made an inquiry about the foster child in early May, it was too late. At the time, state officials indicated the teen had a medical issue, and police maintained they had no reason to suspect foul play.
The child welfare system in Kansas came under severe scrutiny from lawmakers in Topeka in the fall of 2017, the same time Ace entered care after it was discovered that scores of foster children had run away and gone missing.
Officials have stated that the issue of runaway foster children has been elevated to a top priority since January 2019, when Howard and her administration seized control of DCF.
Every day, the state posts the latest count of children who has gone missing from state care, and it didn’t take long for the state to start reporting this data and assembling a Special Response Team, which now numbers 12 members across the state.
About 60-70 children in need of care are missing on a daily basis across the state. The daily report is available on this page. It was “heartbreaking to discover that yet another kid has perished after running away from a placement,” Kansas Appleseed’s director of litigation Teresa Woody stated late Friday.
When children in foster care aren’t getting the help they need, especially with their mental health, they’re more likely to run away, as stated by Woody. Kansas’s foster care system has a long history of failing children.
No of who is in government, “all stakeholders” (the legislature and the executive branch, the Department for Children and Families, and its contractors) must be willing to invest in the state of Kansas’s children.
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