Category Archives: Kansas

Grants For New Community Pools for Small Towns

Community Development Block Grant Program Announces Application for New Community Pool

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Commerce announces its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program now enables communities to apply for funding that can be used to construct a swimming pool.

There are many benefits for a community to consider constructing an outdoor city swimming pool – both for lifestyle and health benefits. Swimming pools offer a means of social interaction, relaxation and stress relief. They give an opportunity for residents to participate in aerobic, yet low-impact exercise. Finally, ADA-approved pool helps people in the community who have special needs.

To be eligible, the proposed facility must include a single pool of water with no elaborate extras, such as lazy rivers, slides or splash parks. The pool can include a maximum of two diving boards. Facilities may be designed to allow for extra features in the future but cannot be part of the application.

For a community to be eligible, it must have population of 500 to 25,000. The maximum grant amount is $1,000,000.  The application has a deadline of May 15, 2019.  The City must still meet the LMI requirements, and a 60/40 match is required (60% CDBG funds and 40% local funds).

For more details and to download the grant application, visit KansasCommerce.gov/cdbg. Questions should be directed to Linda Hunsicker, CDBG Specialist, at (785) 215-4484 or Linda.hunsicker@ks.gov.

 

DCF Secretary Issues Statement About Interim Secretary, Child Welfare Grants

 

Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel issued the following statement on Governor-Elect Kelly naming Laura Howard as interim Secretary of the agency, and requesting to hold child welfare grants:

“It has been my greatest honor and privilege to serve the children and families of Kansas under Governor Jeff Colyer’s leadership, and alongside some of the most dedicated public servants. Together, we have made many necessary changes and improvements in one year.

 

I brought on board a dedicated leadership team with more than 300 years of combined experience at the agency. We visited all 36 DCF offices and met with judges, legislators, foster parents, mental health professionals, advocates and other child welfare stakeholders. We increased child safety and wellbeing by changing key policies and procedures and implementing further mandated training. We successfully piloted a 24/7 phone line in Wichita where law enforcement and hospital workers can immediately report abuse or neglect instead of calling the Kansas Protection Report Center (KPRC). DCF also overhauled the KPRC, streamlining key processes and implementing Structured Decision Making (SDM). The child protection vacancy rate has dropped by 60 percent. The number of missing and runaway youth has dropped 26.7 percent. Risk Removal Staffing’s have kept 86 youth from needing to enter care in the last three months, with a 49 percent diversion rate. We anticipate finalizing 1,500 adoptions in FY 19, double the number of adoptions in FY 18. We have added approximately 150 beds to the continuum of care and continue to add more. With Governor Colyer, we introduced legislation that was passed by the Kansas Legislature to increase agency transparency, and I always made myself readily available to the media. We have made initial necessary investments in child welfare, and Kansas is one of three states currently pursuing the Family First Prevention Services Act, innovative legislation that will bring evidence-based, preventative services to this state.

 

All these changes and improvements would not have been possible without the hard work of DCF’s staff, our contracted providers, judges, legislators, foster parents, advocates and other child welfare stakeholders. I will be ever thankful for their tireless work and their dedication to the children and families of Kansas.

 

Since the agency announced the new case management and family preservation grants, we have been honest, transparent and forthright with the Child Welfare System Task Force, advocates and the general public about the changes in the grants and the bidding and review process. It should also be mentioned; the grants were constructed after gathering valued feedback from the public and child welfare stakeholders—we received more than 400 concerns about the current child welfare contracts. The bid review process was extensive and robust. Two internal DCF teams, consisting of DCF staff from across the state, analyzed and blind-scored each bid submission offsite for three days. These new grants are necessary to improve child welfare in Kansas and are in the absolute best interest for Kansas children and families. With that being said, DCF has been fully transparent and forthcoming with information about the grants with Governor-Elect Kelly’s transition team, and we will continue to collaborate with them and hold the grants, as has been requested. I personally called each provider this morning to express the new administration’s desires on this matter.

 

I wish Laura Howard the best in her new position, and I will be readily available to her in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition. From the moment Governor-Elect Kelly was integral in my unanimous confirmation as Secretary, I have enjoyed an honest and candid relationship with her. I wish her and her administration the best.”

Register For Statewide Job Fair

Statewide Job Fair Employer Registration Now Open

 

Topeka, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Commerce, in partnership with KANSASWORKS, will host the KANSASWORKS Statewide Job Fair on March 7, 2019. The annual job fair will provide employers, veterans, and job seekers with the unique opportunity to connect face-to-face.

“Meeting the workforce needs of Kansas employers is a primary goal for this Department,” said Interim Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Robert North. “The Statewide Job Fair offers the opportunity to unite the businesses we work so closely with to the skilled and valuable employees they need to fill crucial positions within their companies.”

The Statewide Job Fair is also an opportunity for veterans of any status and their families to meet with a variety of employers in various industries and fields. Veterans at any stage in their career search are invited, including active duty, reservists, or National Guard.

“The Kansas workforce is made up of talented, highly-skilled individuals with a passion and drive that brings an inherent value to everything they do,” said Mike Beene, Kansas Department of Commerce Director of Employment Services. “Our workers make up the fabric of this state, holding it together through their commitments to hard work and excellence.”

The event will take place at 11 different locations across the state, including Colby, El Dorado, Independence, Kansas City, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan, Overland Park, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita. The job fair will be open to all job seekers from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

Registration for the Statewide Job Fair can be done via the following links:

Colby, Independence, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan, Overland Park, Salina, Topeka: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/kansasworks-18343559329

Wichita: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansasworks-statewide-job-fair-wichita-tickets-31256597324?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

El Dorado: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kansasworks-statewide-job-fair-el-dorado-tickets-31256940350

 

For more information, job seekers and employers may visit any Workforce Center or call (877) 509-6757.

 

DCF Releases Outside Evaluation of TANF Study

 

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) focuses on offering a helping hand to Kansans in need so they can become self-reliant and prosperous. Since 2011, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients have reported 47,906 new employments. Additionally, according to a Kids Count report, childhood poverty in Kansas is at the lowest level since 2004. In the past five years, the number of Kansas children in poverty has decreased by 26 percent.

Despite these improvements, outside advocates have criticized the agency’s public assistance policies. Specifically, researchers at the University of Kansas issued a study asserting, “sanctions that remove families from TANF appear to increase abuse and neglect and foster care placements.” Following this study, DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel implemented a thorough review of DCF policies, as well as an analysis of TANF time limits and foster care numbers across the country. Following the robust review, DCF found no correlation existed between TANF time limits and foster care. With that being said, DCF instituted Risk Removal Staffings to ensure best practice with families and address this concern. Risk Removal Staffing teams help consider all DCF and community services and supports available to maintain children safely in their home and prevent children from being placed in foster care. To date, they have reviewed 174 cases and have successfully diverted 86 youth from entering foster care, giving them a 49 percent diversion rate. It should also be noted; current Kansas law prohibits children from entering foster care for a poverty reason alone.

Additionally, DCF partnered with Professor Douglas Besharov, a leading child welfare expert at the University of Maryland, to conduct a meta-evaluation of the University of Kansas study, “Do TANF Policies Affect Child Abuse and Neglect? Findings from Kansas.” DCF procured this evaluation to review the study and ensure Kansas has the right public assistance policies in place.

In his analysis, Dr. Besharov concludes the University of Kansas study to be deficient and inconclusive. Below are some of the key components Dr. Besharov highlights in his evaluation of the University of Kansas’ study:

  • The hypothesis is based on incomplete data and analysis.
  • There are incomplete and shifting variables concerning Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • Child welfare policies and practices were not taken into account.
  • The growth in substance abuse is not sufficiently taken into account.

 

You can also find his full analysis here.

“I believe employment is the only real solution to true economic stability. We want to come alongside Kansans in need and help them with their immediate needs, but long-term, the best thing we can do for them is help them find gainful employment. Every day, DCF staff empower Kansans to successfully find jobs and ensure child safety,” Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. “Professor Besharov’s study plainly illustrates we cannot simply rely on one study to change public policy or law, but instead we must be diligent about reviewing public policies, data and outcomes to ensure we are doing the right things for Kansas children and families. My team continues to look at this matter internally.”

Professor Besharov and Professor Neil Geilbert, a national expert and collaborator on the meta-evaluation, echoed Secretary Meier-Hummel’s sentiment in his study by concluding, “whatever might be the actual relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and child maltreatment and foster care placement, what we know about their analysis establishes that their study does not support their publicized findings. Simply put, this is a work in progress that should not be used as the basis of causal conclusions or policy recommendations.”

Professor Besharov is a renowned author on welfare reform, child abuse, child welfare and family policy. He was the first director of the U.S. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, from 1975 to 1979.

Spotlight on Minority and Women in Business

Introducing the Minority and Women Business Spotlight Program

 

Topeka, Kan. – The Women and Minority Business Development office of the Kansas Department of Commerce announces the start of the Minority and Women Business Spotlight program.

The purpose of the program is to highlight Kansas small, minority and women-owned businesses. To be eligible, applicants must be small, minority and/or woman-owned businesses headquartered in Kansas.

Every month, one business will be selected for the Spotlight. That business will be featured on Kansas Commerce social media and KansasCommerce.gov. The selected company will be featured in an article on KansasCentral.com.

“It is our goal to feature Kansas minority and/or women-owned businesses through our spotlight to assist in their growth and development,” said Rhonda Harris, Director of the Office of Minority and Women Business Development for the Kansas Department of Commerce. “By bringing awareness to these companies and the services and products they provide, we hope to promote a broader outreach to potential customers that may be able to utilize the services offered.”

Applications can be filled out online at https://www.kansascommerce.gov/FormCenter/MWBD-Spotlight-Nomination-Form-31/Nomination-Form-81

The first business to be highlighted is Camo Cross Dog Training in Topeka, KS. The feature can be found at https://www.kansascommerce.gov/1205/Camo-Cross-Dog-Training

 

Questions about the Spotlight program should be directed to:

Rhonda Harris

Rhonda.harris@ks.gov

(785) 296-3425

Fiscal year tax collections exceed previous year by $195 million

Kansas fiscal year tax collections exceed previous year by $195.73 million

 

 

TOPEKA—Fiscal year tax collections have exceeded previous year’s totals by $195.73 million according to data from the latest revenue report released Wednesday.

 

Fiscal year 2019 tax collections so far total $3.39 billion, exceeding current estimates by $13.06 million.

 

December tax collections were down $24.24 million, or 3.41 percent below last December. December’s tax collections exceeded expectations for the month by $10.59 million.

 

Individual income tax collections in December totaled $291.52 million which is $43.85 million or 13.07 percent below the same time last year. Corporation income tax collections in December totaled $69.61 million which is $22.61 million above current expectations and $29.47 million above the same time last year. December sales tax collections fell short of last December’s collections by $1.97 million.

 

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KDHE Looks At Accomplishments

KDHE Looks Back at Accomplishments in 2018, Looks Forward to 2019

Areas include Public Health, Environment and Health Care Finance

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is looking forward to 2019 and looking back at some of its accomplishments in 2018.

 

“We made great strides in a number of areas,” said Secretary Jeff Andersen. “KDHE’s Divisions of Public Health, Environment and Health Care Finance all had great achievements of which the citizens of Kansas can be proud. We look forward to continuing that work in the coming year.”

 

Some of the achievements at KDHE included:

 

Public Health

  • Launching the Maternal Mortality Review which includes a review committee focused on implementing a comprehensive review of maternal and pregnancy-associated mortality.
  • Helping to organize and lead the Governor’s Substance Use Disorder Task Force chaired by KDHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Greg Lakin, presenting a series of proposals to the Governor to combat the opioid epidemic in 2019 and beyond.
  • Introducing the “Count the Kicks” stillbirth prevention initiative with over 326 expectant Kansas mothers having downloaded and used the free CTK app.
  • The KDHE Office of Vital Statistics making birth certificates available online with the PayIt app and opening its new office in Topeka with increased space for customers and a new registration system on the way in early 2019.

 

Environment

  • Coordinating its Dry Cleaner Remediation Program, connecting 209 homes to city water in the Haysville area and coordinating with the City of Haysville to complete the design and installation of 8.7 miles of new city water main.
  • Initiating its Private Well Water campaign, including an instructional video for homeowners to properly take a water sample for nitrates and total coliform, a webpage, a public service announcement, flyer and social media infographics.
  • Assisting in the aftermath of natural disasters including the tornadoes in Eureka and flooding in many counties across the state.
  • Monitoring our rivers, streams, lakes and ponds for harmful algal blooms.

 

Health Care Finance

  • Approval of the state’s 1115 waiver extension application granting the state of Kansas the authority to operate KanCare, the state’s managed care program.
  • Awarding a new MCO contract to Aetna and holding statewide KanCare education meetings to explain the changes that will occur in 2019.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2019, handling training and quality at the KanCare Clearinghouse for Medicaid eligibility. Effective, July 1, 2019, the state will take over responsibilities for the processing of elderly and disabled applications.

“These are only a few of our accomplishments during 2018,” said Secretary Andersen. “In 2019 we look forward to building on these and all of the areas KDHE addresses to follow our mission to protect and improve the health and environment of all Kansans.”

Kansas Water Authority Approves 2019 Surplus Water Report

Recently the Kansas Water Authority (KWA) met in Wichita for their December meeting. The KWA received updates on water priorities in the state but two main topics were the focus: 2019 Surplus Water Report and the Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature.

 

The KWA received updates on vital water projects and issues in the state including current interstate compacts, the Kansas Water Reservoir Protection Initiative, Harmful Algal Blooms as well as the Water Technology Farms.

The KWA approved the 2019 Surplus Water Report, and agreed to allow the Kansas Water Office to enter into Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Study.

The KWA approved the 2019 Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature and they also heard a presentation regarding non-public household water wells. The host was American AgCredit and the lunch was sponsored by KITS and 96 Agri Sales.

 

The KWA is responsible for advising the Governor, Legislature and Director of the Kansas Water Office on water policy issues.

They also ensure that water policies and programs address the needs of all Kansans as well as serve as advisors of the Kansas Water Vision and Kansas Water Plan.

The KWA was established in 1981 and consists of 13 voting members who are appointed by the Governor or Legislative leadership. State agency directors serve as ex-officio members.

 

The next meeting will be in Topeka, Kansas in January. The KWA meetings are throughout the year and for additional information and other upcoming meetings, visit www.kwo.ks.gov.

 

WIC Stays Open: Potential Government Shutdown

Kansas WIC Program Would Remain Open During Potential Federal Government Shutdown

350 Kansas stores would continue to process WIC transactions

 

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is letting citizens know that if the Federal Government shuts down on Friday, Dec. 21, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program would continue to operate. This would include providing nutritional food benefits, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referral services. WIC is the USDA funded nutrition program for low-income pregnant women, infants and children from birth to age 5.

 

“All eligible participants would continue to receive WIC benefits and new applicants would be certified and receive benefits,” said Rachel Sisson, MS, Director of the KDHE Bureau of Family Health. “There are 350 stores in Kansas authorized to provide WIC foods to clients. During a shutdown, all stores would continue to process WIC transactions and would continue to be paid for food purchased by WIC participants.”

 

The WIC program is administered by KDHE through contracts with county health departments. There are 120 county WIC clinics in Kansas where eligible participants may apply for services.

 

Information about the Kansas WIC program is located on the web at www.kansaswic.org.

KDOT requesting comments on Transportation Improvement Program Amendment

 

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) requests comments on an amendment to the FFY 2019-2022 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) document.

The STIP is a project specific publication that lists all KDOT administered projects, regardless of funding source, and includes projects for counties and cities as well as projects on the State Highway System. The list of projects being amended to the STIP can be viewed at http://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burProgProjMgmt/stip/stip.asp

The approval of the STIP amendment requires a public comment period, which concludes Jan. 2, 2019. To make comments on the amendment, contact KDOT’s Bureau of Program and Project Management at (785) 296-2252.

This information is available in alternative accessible formats. To obtain an alternative format, contact the KDOT Office of Public Affairs, (785) 296-3585 (Voice/Hearing Impaired-711).

Hilderbrand Files To Prevent Transfers From Highway Fund

KANSAS SENATOR RICHARD HILDERBRAND FILES SCR 1601

TO PREVENT THE TRANSFERS FROM THE STATE HIGHWAY FUND

GALENA- Senator Richard Hilderbrand (R-Galena) pre-files SCR 1601to prevent transfers and limit expenditures from the state highway fund to only those items related to transportation set forth in the amendment.

The state of Kansas has swept $3.35 billion from the state highway fund over the last several years. This last fiscal year the state swept over $290 million. This has left a devastating effect on not only the safety but the long-term economic impact of our great state.

The state of Kansas currently has 25 T-Works projects delayed because of a lack of funding. The total cost to fund those 25 projects would be $553 million. In just two years after this bill becomes law, all 25 of those T-Works projects could be funded.

We must stop robbing from Peter to pay Paul, and bring fiscal accountability back to Kansas!

I will continue to work hard in Topeka to continue infrastructure investments in Southeast Kansas, to encourage growth and allow us to remain competitive throughout the state and entire nation.”

Driver’s License Office Hours Extended Christmas through New Years Eve

Division of Vehicles announces extended holiday hours

 

 

TOPEKA—Driver’s license offices statewide will offer extended hours the week of Christmas and New Years for added customer convenience, the Division of Vehicles announced Tuesday.

 

The hours for the two week holiday schedule beginning December 24 are:

 

December 24 — CLOSED Monday

December 25 — CLOSED Tuesday

December 26 — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday

December 27 — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday

December 28 – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday

 

December 31 — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday

January 1 — CLOSED Tuesday

January 2 — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday

January 3 – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday

January 4 — 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday

 

Many customers can skip the office entirely and renew their license using the iKan app, available for iOS, Android, and at https://ikan.ks.gov/.

 

Customer seeking Real ID should come in to the office with the required documents that can be found on a checklist at ksrevenue.org/realid.

 

Normal business hours will resume on Monday, January 7, which for most offices statewide is 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. To find hours for specific locations, visit https://www.ksrevenue.org/dovstations.html