Ascension Via Christi’s Fort Scott Emergency Department will open Monday, Feb. 18

Ascension Via Christi’s Fort Scott Emergency Department will open Monday, Feb. 18

Fort Scott ER door

FORT SCOTT, KS – Ascension Via Christi’s Emergency Department in Fort Scott will open its doors at 7 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. In addition to the ED, Ascension Via Christi will provide diagnostic imaging and laboratory services at the Fort Scott campus.

“Our team has worked diligently over the past 60 days to get Fort Scott’s emergency department up and running as soon as possible,” said Randy Cason, President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. “We passed all of the regulatory inspections and certifications, and successfully completed our physician agreements and associate onboarding.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our Ascension Via Christi team for their hard work and we look forward to continuing our mission of caring for the residents of Southeast Kansas, including Fort Scott and the surrounding communities.”

Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg announced on Feb. 1 that it would assume operations of the emergency department in response to Mercy Fort Scott’s October 2018 announcement that it would close the hospital. Diagnostic imaging and laboratory services can accept orders from any physicians or health care providers in the area. Call 620-232-0447 for scheduling.

Bourbon County Commission Agenda Feb. 19


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Date: February 19th, 2019

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

9:00-9:45-Jim Harris

10:00-11:00-Fence viewing between property owners Cox & Gander

11:00-12:00-Justin Meeks

12:00-1:30-Commissioners gone to lunch

1:30-2:15-Bill Martin-Contracts/Vehicle

2:15-3:30-Commissioner to leave and go to the Fort-Senator Moran

Justifications for Executive Session:

          Personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel

          Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

          Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

          Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships

          Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property

          Matters relating to the security of a public body or agency, public building or facility or the information system of a public body or agency, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize the security of such public body, agency, building, facility or information system

Fort Scott Commission Meeting Minutes Feb. 2



Minutes of February 5, 2019 Regular Meeting #2

The regular meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held February 5th, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Room, 123 S. Main, Fort Scott, Kansas.


Commissioners Adamson, Bartelsmeyer, Mitchell and Nichols were present with Mayor Parker presiding.

INVOCATION: Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, said a prayer asking God for guidance for the City, our Government and City officials.

AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Travis Shelton, Rhonda Dunn, Darrell Parker, Jerry Witt, Billy Keith, Bill Lemke, Michael Mix, Garth Hermann, Paul Ballou, Deb Needleman, Rachel Pruitt, Randy Ballweber, Venieta Ballweber, Alpha Money, Lindsay Madison, Chad Brown, and Clayton Miller

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS: Recognition of Alpha Money and Randy Ballweber – Codes Certification – Rhonda Dunn, Finance/Codes Director, recognized her Codes Enforcement officers, Alpha Money and Randy Ballweber for successfully completing the Kansas Code Enforcement Officer courses offered by the Kansas Association of Code Enforcement.


  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of January 15th, 2019.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1231-A totaling $589,319.33.

  1. Approval of 2019 Cereal Malt Beverage License – Package Sales – GW2 DBA Cash Saver, 911 E. 6th Street

Mitchell moved the Consent Agenda. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.



  1. APPEARANCE: Jerry Witt, Riverfront Lighting – Jerry Witt, Chairperson of the Riverfront Committee, appeared before the Commission and informed them that three years ago the Riverfront Committee received a grant from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to construct a pavilion and an overlook. Both of these have been constructed and there are still some funds available. He contacted the State to see if lighting could be included under this grant and the State said it could be. He has visited with the Fort Scott National Historic Site and the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office (SHIPO) regarding the lighting. He also talked to K.D.O.T. who informed him that all materials have to be American made. It took him about two months, but he finally located a company with all American made lighting. He is working with Max Fanning who will be installing the lighting. They will have 14 lights at an estimated cost of $18,000. This lighting will be on the north side of the river. The City has stated they are willing to dig a ditch to lay the electrical. He asked for approval to install the lights at the north side of Riverfront Park.

Nichols moved to approve the lighting at Riverfront Park. Bartelsmeyer seconded. All voted aye.


B. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 3 minute

limit per citizen) – None



  1. Consideration of Resolution 4-2019 declaring it necessary to acquire Fire Fighting Equipment for use by the Fire Department of the City of Fort Scott, Kansas and to issue General Obligation Bonds of said City to pay the costs thereof; and providing for the giving of notice of intention to acquire said equipment and to issue said General Obligation Bonds – Garth Hermann, Gilmore & Bell, informed the Commission that this is the first step to secure funding for the two fire trucks the City needs to purchase. A public Notice of Intent will be published in the February 9th and February 16th newspaper notifying the public that the governing body has declared it necessary to acquire firefighting equipment at an estimated cost of $1,751,748.72. The costs of the equipment, interest on interim financing and associated financing costs will be paid from the proceeds of General Obligation Bonds of the City in an amount not to exceed $1,915,000 to be issued by the City. This notice shall be published for two consecutive weeks and if, within 60 days following the date of the last publication, a petition signed by not less than 5% of the qualified electors of the City is filed with the City Clerk, no such bonds shall be issued until the issuance shall have been approved by a majority of the qualified electors of the City voting on the question. If no petition is timely filed, the governing body of the City will proceed with the acquisition of the equipment and issuance of the bonds.

Paul Ballou, Fire Chief, updated the Commission on the age of the two fire trucks and the issues they have been causing. Parts are getting very hard to find due to their age.

Parker moved to approve Resolution 4-2019. Bartelsmeyer seconded. All voted aye.

Approved Resolution 4-2019 declaring it necessary to acquire Fire Fighting Equipment for use by the Fire Department of the City of Fort Scott, Kansas and to issue General Obligation Bonds of said City to pay the costs thereof; and providing for the giving of notice of intention to acquire said equipment and to issue said General Obligation Bonds.

  1. Consideration of appointments to Golf Course Advisory Board – Diane Clay, City Clerk, informed the Commission that the Golf Course Advisory Board met on January 17th, 2019 at the Golf Course Clubhouse. It was discovered due to the inactivity of meeting, that their terms had all expired. All the board members were willing to be reappointed. She asked for the reappointment of John Leek, Kenneth Holt, Mitch Quick, Steve Harry, and Jeffrey Sweetser for a two year term respectively expiring on December 31, 2021.

Nichols moved to approve the reappointment of the Golf Course Advisory Board members. Adams seconded. All voted aye.


  1. Approval of 2019 ADM Contract – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that after some minor changes, A.D.M. has finally signed the contract for purchasing reused water from our Wastewater Treatment Plant and paying for the treatment of the wastewater they haul to our lagoons. Approval is recommended.

Adamson moved to approve the 2019 ADM contract. Nichols seconded. All voted aye.


  1. Approval to purchase sewer push camera – Michael Mix, Public Utilities Director, informed the Commission that he has received a proposal for a sewer push camera. This camera will enable the City to inspect sewer lines that are small or hard to reach. The main camera is limited to 8” or larger and also required good access to the manhole with our large camera van. This push camera is extremely light weight and portable. It will greatly increase our efficiency with sewer visual inspections. This camera is from Key Equipment in Kansas City and costs $10,995.00. This is a budgeted item.

Mitchell moved to approve to purchase the sewer push camera in the amount of $10,995.00 from Key Equipment. Bartelsmeyer seconded. All voted aye.


  1. Approval to solicit bids for water leak correlator – Bill Lemke, Water Distribution Supervisor, informed the Commission he is requesting permission to solicit bids for the purchase of a leak correlator which is equipment that uses sensors to deter noise transmitted in the wall of the pipe and through water. Items such as meters, valves, and fire hydrants are used as access points to precisely pinpoint leaks between two points. He asked for permission to solicit bids for a leak correlator that will have the capabilities for both metallic and pvc pipe style piping. The estimated cost is $25,000. This is a budgeted item.

Mitchell moved to approve to solicit bids for the water leak correlator. Parker seconded. All voted aye.


City Manager commended Bill Lemke and his crew for working the water leaks during all times of the night.

  1. Consideration of new life insurance benefit offering – Deb Needleman, Human Resource Director, informed the Commission that there is a new life insurance option to our benefit offerings. This life insurance product would be one the employee could take with them when they leave City employment without conversion to a higher premium rate. There is also the option for a paid up at 65 policy.

Discussion was held regarding giving other life insurance vendors an opportunity to submit this same type of benefit to the City.

City Manager suggested tabling this item until the February 19th, 2019 meeting.

Bartelsmeyer moved to table this item until the February 19th, 2019 meeting. Adamson seconded. All voted aye.



  1. Director Updates:

Ambulance Update: Paul Ballou, Fire Chief, informed the Commission that EMS has been very busy. In January there were 202 requests for service. Of those requests, there were 153 transports and 49 dry runs, which means an ambulance was called but did not transport a patient. As of February 5th, there were 25 requests already for service with five (5) of those being transports. Transports have been to Via Christi in Pittsburg, Girard, Allen County, and Nevada Regional Hospital. There are currently three ambulances and also the ambulance housed at the Fire Department. He thanked Tom Coffman, City Mechanic, for working on a fuel pump on an ambulance recently. It was out of rotation less than 24 hours which is great.

B. City Commission:

Nichols He thanked the ambulance crews for the great job they are doing.

Adamson Nothing to report.

Mitchell Nothing to report.

Bartelsmeyer Nothing to report.

Parker – She stated that she received a nice letter from a lady who visited Fort Scott recently. She said she had a great time but did mention she was concerned with a couple of areas where there was a lot of trash and debris. She asked the City Manager about how to address the trash issue.

City Manager said that the City will need to get tougher with people and the trash violations.

C. City Attorney: Not present.

  1. City Manager:

Health Care Update: City Manager said that last week was a good week for health care. He said that on October 1st our world fell out from beneath us with the announcement of the closure of Mercy Hospital. A task force was formed with three goals: Secure primary care; Ambulance service; and Emergency Room. He asked the public to be patient as the new Community Health Care Walk-In clinics are transitioned.

Meet and Greet: City Manager said that he attended this morning’s Meet and Greet in downtown Fort Scott. Parking downtown seems to be a big frustration to business owners. This is a good problem with all the development going on in downtown, but a frustration to others. It is public parking and business owners don’t own the parking in front of their store fronts. He asked them to be patient as this is public parking.


Parker moved to move into Executive Session for 10 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel to include City Commission, City Manager, and Human Resource Director. There is no action anticipated. Bartelsmeyer seconded. All voted aye.



Mitchell moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:10 p.m. Bartelsmeyer seconded. All voted aye.


The next regularly scheduled meeting is to be held on February 19th, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.




Fort Scott City Commission Meeting Agenda Feb. 19






FEBRUARY 19, 2019

6 p.m.




III. INVOCATION: Pastor Paul Rooks, Grace Baptist Tabernacle



  1. Approval of minutes of the regular meeting of February 5th, 2019.

  1. Approval of Appropriation Ordinance 1232-A totaling $505,644.58.



B. CITIZEN COMMENTS (Concerning Items Not on Agenda – 3 minute limit per citizen) –


6:00 p.m. Final Closeout Public Hearing – 124 E Wall – CDBG Grant – Approval for Mayor to sign closing documents


  1. Consideration to solicit RFP’s for new life insurance benefit offering


  1. Director Updates:

Ambulance Update: Dave Bruner or Paul Ballou

Health Care Update: Dave Martin

Finance Update: Rhonda Dunn

Legislative Update: Robert Uhler

  1. Commission:
  1. City Attorney:
  1. City Manager:



SESSION FOR ________________________________ IN ORDER TO

(see below justification)

DISCUSS ______________________________________. THE


MEETING TO RESUME AT ________________.

Justifications for Executive Sessions:

  • Personnel matters of non-elected personnel

  • Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

  • Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative or representatives of the body or agency

  • Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts and individual proprietorships

  • Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property


Obituary of Robert Findley

Robert William Findley, age 70, of Fort Scott, KS, passed away February 11th surrounded by his family.

The son of Eldon and Ula (Carr) Findley, Robert was born in Fort Scott, at Mercy Hospital, on January 10th, 1949. In his youth Robert helped his father on the family farm. While in school Robert was active in 4H & FFA. He graduated from Fort Scott High school in 1967. Robert married the love of his life, Linda S. Rhynerson on May 28th, 1970, in a private ceremony in Miami, OK. Robert & Linda started a family in 1975 with the birth of their daughter Brenda.  Robert was fortunate enough to make a career out of one of his favorite hobbies and Findley Body Repair was opened in 1975. It has been going strong ever since. Anyone who had the chance to visit the body shop could count on a friendly greeting from not only Robert but also his beloved weenie dogs. Robert took great pride in his business and worked right up until his accident on February 7th.

Robert began giving back to his community at young age. He enjoyed his membership in various philanthropic and civic organizations. Joining in 1977, he was a lifetime member of The Elks Lodge B.P.O.E 579. During his time with The Elks he served as a district deputy and a state Vice President. He truly enjoyed delivering Christmas baskets every year and spent several years as a hoop shoot coordinator. Robert was also a member of the Shriners Mounted Patrol. He was active in the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce for many years.

In his younger days Robert could be found racing cars at the Mo-Kan speedway, participating in demolition derby’s as well as tractor pulls. Later in life he traded in racing cars for watching NASCAR. Jimmy Johnson was his favorite driver. When he wasn’t watching NASCAR, he was enjoying reruns of The Rifleman & Gunsmoke. John Wayne was one of his favorites. Robert also enjoyed hunting & fishing. He would participate in fishing tournaments every year. For over a decade now Robert has found joy in taking trips to Cloud 9 ranch to ride his ATV alongside his friends. The muddier the better! 

Robert loved sightseeing and a good Diner. His love for life was contagious and those who knew him all agreed that he was always a happy man. His desire to make others laugh and to forever be the better prankster new few limits. As did his generosity towards others. Robert didn’t know a stranger & he was well known not only for his wit & zingy one liners but also for his kindness towards his fellow man.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents Eldon & Ula Findley; his sisters, Rose Mary Findley, Doris Query, and Helen Hixon; and 2 brothers, John Findley and Floyd Findley. He is survived by his wife of 48 years Linda Findley; their daughter, Brenda Findley Tapp (Mountain Home, ID) and her husband David & his 3 grandchildren, who he adored, Lauren, Aubrey & Pierce; a brother, Donald Findley; and 2 sisters, Rita Findley & Janice (Rollin) Camp. Robert is also survived by countless nieces & nephews including a very special nephew, Von Jason Findley and his family; wife Tiffany & their 2 children, Tyler & Megan. 

There was cremation. A public Celebration of Life will be held at The Elks Lodge starting at 3:00 PM on Saturday, February 23rd.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Care to Share, and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, PO Box 347, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at 

Scott Teenor: The Fixer

Scott Teenor, Briggs Automall Fort Scott’s new general manager.

Scott Teenor is the new general manager at Briggs Automall of Fort Scott, since February 1. Briggs is located at 1819 S. Main, on Hwy 69.

“I’m the guy who fixes things,” Teenor said.

Teenor has worked for Russ Briggs for 24 years he said.

“I’ve managed every one of his stores in Manhatten, Topeka and Lawrence,” Teenor said.

Briggs purchased Shepherd Auto about three years ago.

“Russ Briggs desire is to satisfy the customer,” Teenor said. “He is involved in so many different ways.”

Teenor has two simple rules, he said.

“Be on time and treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Teenor wants to refute a recent rumor he heard that is circulating.

“There seems to be a rumor we are closing,” he said. “We are not closing.”

“One thing that we have been doing is ‘right-sizing’ inventory and staff, for what the current market bears,” he said.

Currently, Briggs has 250 vehicles on the lot: Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Buick and Chevrolet.

“But we have access to inventory in all the other locations,” Teenor said. “So 2,000 additional new and used vehicles.”

Teenor can be reached at 620-223-0900 or his cell 785-344-3599.

He lives in Lawrence and commutes every day, he said.




Snobs by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

There were five BMW’s, six Mercedes, two Porsche’s, one Bentley and two Jaguar’s in this lot,” said Dave after looking for a parking spot here in Jupiter, Florida, where he and I are living for a few months.

And don’t forget,” I added, “our 2005 Toyota pick-up.”

People were impressed,” laughed Dave.

The other day I returned a shawl to a local department store. It had been purchased to be worn over a sleeveless dress at my son’s wedding last month…and had I lost the 20 pounds necessary to zip up the dress, it would have worked out splendidly to cover my trembling triceps. Since that depressing weight-loss-thing didn’t happen, I was forced to wear a different dress—one with long sleeves—that resembled a parachute more than something classy.

Handing the shawl to the lady at the cash register, I laughed as I shared that same explanation when she asked if anything was wrong with it. She stared at me like I had asked permission to break her kneecaps.

Perhaps she is having a bad day, I told myself.

Apparently, a lot of people in this part of the country are having bad days.

My girlfriend Alice and I went to lunch last week. Our waiter was gruff and there only to get a tip. When I told Alice he was a snob, she agreed.

Perhaps he is having a bad day,” I told my friend.

Probably not,” she answered. “You’ll get used to it.”

I’m not so sure. I don’t do well with hoity-toity people…until, that is, I have to face facts, come off of my high horse and ask myself if I could be a slice of that snob pie. After all, Christians are not exempt. Do we, for example, subconsciously place the pastor on a spiritual level superior to the church custodian? Do we praise the soloist with the flawless vibrato while ignoring the couple who faithfully hand out bulletins week after week? Do we whisper excitedly when the millionaire walks through the church doors but ignore the mentally-challenged woman who ambles to the front for prayer?

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. (James 2:1) There is a story about how (then) Governor Ronald Reagan and Nancy sat in the same seats when they attended California’s Bel Aire Presbyterian Church. One morning, when they were late, two college students occupied their seats. An usher came down the aisle and asked the students if they would move. They did, and the Reagans were brought in and seated. To his credit, the pastor got up from his place on the platform, walked down to the college students and said, As long as I am pastor of this church, that will never happen again.” He understood James 2: 2-4 (ESV): For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

I cannot fathom favoring one person over another, at least not until I honestly search my heart and wonder if my attitude towards rude department store personnel and waiters is my way of setting myself, in some snobbish, judgmental way, a notch or two above them.

Surely not, I tell myself.

I’m WAY above that.

Author of New Novel –OUR DUTY—to speak at Hedgehog.INK Feb. 21

Gerri Hilger

Hedgehog INK will soon host a former Ft. Scott Middle School teacher as she shares her recently published historical fiction, OUR DUTY.

Gerri Wetta Hilger taught 7th & 8th English at FSMS in the last years it was the “castle” on National Avenue.

The main heroines of the book are Hilger’s mother Pauline Garrity Wetta and her best friend, Agnes Beat Pauly.

Though “mostly true” the book is considered fiction due to created scenes and dialogue to add to the flow of the novel which presents a different perspective of WW II.

Much of the setting of the beginning chapters takes place at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita where the young women are student nurses. Sedgwick County Kansas with farm families struggling on the home front, and workers at Boeing Aircraft manufactured unbelievable numbers of bombers for the war effort.

Hilger will speak about the characters and events of OUR DUTY and sign copies at Hedgehog Books INK, 16 S. Main in Ft. Scott on Feb. 21 at 6:00 PM.

        OUR DUTY opens with Polly and Aggie, as student nurses at St. Francis.  Because WW II is raging, nurses are at a shortage, so student nurses work many hours with patients in addition to attending classes and mastering the medical information.  Even as they struggle to graduate, the young women find time for plenty of shenanigans to entertain readers, lending a lighter tone than most WWII works.

After graduation Aggie joins the military where she qualifies as a flight nurse and becomes part of the Army Air Corp.  Through her letters, some of the difficulties faced by this under-recognized group of brave women, including their initial lack of respect by the military brass, are detailed. In addition to tending wounded, Aggie’s life is intertwined with airmen who faced unimaginable dangers in the skies over Europe that will change them forever.  Later she nursed the wounded on long flights over the Pacific to medical facilities in Hawaii and later on home to San Francisco.

While Aggie is in the military, Polly stayed behind to work many extra hours on the maternity floor at St. Francis Hospital which was still short staffed due to the War.  She entertains Aggie and boosts the morale of any who are privy to her letters describing romantic adventures and escapades. By the end of the historical novel, several seemingly unrelated military characters are brought together as they return home.

OUR DUTY has recently been awarded 5 out of 5 stars by Chanticleer Book Reviews. Comments include “In Our Duty, Hilger tackles the hefty topic of why some people enlist while others try their hardest to stay home. It should be noted that all of the characters’ reasons for avoiding war have everything to do with family responsibilities and less to do with worrying about whether or not one may die as a result of enlisting. . . Hilger has gifted us with a WWII historical fiction on the lighthearted side with an enjoyable sweet romance. “

Signed copies will be available for purchase at the Hedgehog presentation. Hilger looks forward to seeing friends, and answering questions about the novel..More information on Facebook—Gerri Hilger Author or contact:

Book Trailer


Governor Comments on Oswego Hospital Closing

Governor Kelly’s statement on the Oswego Community Hospital closure


The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding the closure of Oswego Community Hospital:


“Once again, we see the consequences of failing to expand Medicaid. Another Kansas hospital, this time in Oswego, has closed its doors. Studies show about 30% of our state’s hospitals are considered financially vulnerable. In small communities across our state – these facilities are at serious risk of closure.


“Just by expanding KanCare – the state’s Medicaid program – we can help keep these important facilities open and provide affordable health care to 150,000 more Kansans – no matter where they live. It is time to put politics aside and do what is best for the families and communities of Kansas.


“I look forward to legislators following through on their pledge to move our agenda through the committee process and allow for a full floor debate on our Medicaid expansion proposal.”

Buffalo Soldiers Presentation Rescheduled to Feb. 18


Rebid Family Preservation Grants; Reopen Negotiations on Foster Care Grants

Kansas Department for Children and Families to Rebid Family Preservation Grants; Reopen Negotiations on Foster Care Grants

Current contracts to be extended


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.