Kansans from across the state joined Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. to cut the ribbon on two new state agencies focused on protecting the state's children, families and most vulnerable. Created by Executive Reorganization Order No. 41, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services(KDADS) are part of the Brownback Administration's ongoing reorganization efforts to increase efficiency among state agencies and improve services and programs.
"This is a momentous day in the history of Kansas government," Gov. Brownback said. "This historic reorganization will ensure we serve the children and families of Kansas as well as older adults and persons with disabilities in ways suited to the unique needs of our state and the unique needs of those who depend upon state services and programs."
Lt. Gov. Colyer said the reorganization is key to the administration's reform of the state's Medicaid system.
"When we took office, the state's Medicaid system was in serious trouble from a lack of coordinated care and exploding costs," Dr. Colyer said. "As we worked to improve services and health outcomes, we realized that the state agencies and programs involved needed to be streamlined to better facilitate their functions and communications."
Department for Children and Families
The DCF replaces the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Monday as the Kansas agency responsible for the protection of children and the promotion of healthy families.
The responsibilities of DCF include children and adult protection services, adoption services, foster care support, child support services, welfare and food assistance programs, as well as services dedicated to vocational rehabilitation, among others. The agency has a budget of $600 million.
"DCF is a completely focused on serving our clients and on the wellbeing of children and families in the state of Kansas," DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. "We have a vitally important mission--to protect children, promote healthy families, and encourage personal responsibility."
Gilmore said the goals of the new agency are to strengthen families, safely reduce the number of children in care, promote employment, responsible stewardship of taxpayer funds and to build public and private partnerships. She noted services to the more than 500,000 Kansans the agency works with in various capacities have gone uninterrupted during the transition.
The new Department for Children and Families website launched Sunday. The completely redesigned site is more intuitive and easy to use. The website, www.dcf.ks.gov, was designed and coded entirely by DCF employees.
The four major programs that serve clients have been renamed. Children and Family Services is now Prevention and Protection Services; Child Support Enforcement is now Child Support Services; Economic and Employment Support is now Economic and Employment Services; Rehabilitation Services is now Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
DCF Central Office will remain at the same address in Docking State Office Building, 915 SW Harrison, Topeka, KS 66612. All 39 service centers across Kansas will remain at the same locations. Customer service can still be reached at 1-888-369-4777.
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
The KDADS merges the former Department on Aging, the Disability and Behavioral Health Services Division at SRS and parts of the Health Occupations Credentialing Division.
The new agency will administer services to older adults; Mental Health, Addiction and Prevention Programs; State Hospitals and Institutions; Home and Community-based Services Waiver Programs and some health occupations credentialing. It will be the second largest in state government, with a budget of $1.7 billion for fiscal year 2013. The total includes $154.9 million for state hospitals.
"There are differences between the older adults and persons with disabilities whom we will serve under the new agency, but they also represent many common challenges: helping people to stay independent and healthy as long as possible, the need for quality housing and competent caregivers and the necessity of navigating a fragmented health care system," KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan said.
Sullivan said KDADS' goals are to keep older adults and persons with disabilities at home and independent as long as possible. He said the agency will work towards providing an integrated and coordinated Medicaid system to help them achieve this goal.
"The quality Older Americans Act services that KDOA has focused on since its inception will continue to help us fulfill our new agency's mission," Sullivan said. "If older adults or persons with disabilities live in one of our state's adult care homes, state hospitals or other supportive living environments, our agency will continue its efforts to ensure that quality care and services are provided in a place as much like home as possible."
Additional information can be found on the department's new website, www.kdads.ks.gov.
All aging programs will continue to be housed at the New England building, 503 S. Kansas Ave., in downtown Topeka. Disability services will remain housed for the time being in the Docking Building at 915 SW Harrison in downtown Topeka.