Work in partnership to advocate for Kansas children and families

2017 Policy Agenda

ACCESS TO HEALTH

Restore the 4 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement to Kansas health care providers— The 4 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement threatens access to care for our most vulnerable children and families. This comes at a time when unfunded federal mandates already make it difficult for private agencies to deliver care. Cuts to Medicaid provider reimbursement rates not only create further stress on the health care system, but have a direct impact on the state’s economy.

Expand KanCare for healthier children and families— Medicaid expansion offers an opportunity to build upon and improve our current Medicaid program. It is estimated that expansion of Medicaid to 133 percent of the federal poverty level in Kansas would cover an additional 122,000 adult Kansans. A parent, foster parent or kinship caregiver’s poor physical or mental health can contribute to a stressful family environment and may impair the health and well-being of a child.

PREVENTION

Safely reduce the number of children in out of home care— Kansas removes children at a rate 60 percent above the national average and more than double the rate in states that are national models for keeping children safe. Children removed for non-abuse or neglect reasons are overwhelming the system, leaving less time to care for children taken from truly dangerous homes. Community-based prevention services for families facing mental health, addiction and financial security issues are proven to help keep children in their homes and families together.

SYSTEM STRENGTH

Savings from juvenile justice reform should follow the children and families— A key element of the 2016 juvenile justice reform (SB 367) requires the state to fund community programs with 100% of money that otherwise would have been spent on juvenile incarceration or out-of-home placements. As the state decreases incarceration of low-risk juveniles, more youth enter the child welfare system. Savings from juvenile justice reform should follow the children and families.

Strengthen children and families by adequately funding agencies that place children— Kansas child welfare provider rates have not been increased since 2007. These rates allow agencies to provide support, services, staff, visitation, training, and all the things to help families keep kids safe and families connected. By increasing rates to contractors and ensuring funding goes to provider rates, agencies will have the ability to take care of foster families so they can in turn take care of the children.