70-plus children missing from state foster care system

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TOPEKA — A top state official says Kansas works to find missing foster care children swiftly.

The comments come after legislators expressed outrage after learning during a committee meeting Tuesday that more than 70 foster children are missing.

Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said Wednesday that many missing children are located quickly and returned to their foster homes.

Gilmore also says that in some cases, foster children who are considered to be on the run are actually with a parent who is trying to keep them out of foster care.

Department officials and foster care contractors note that the percentage of foster children who are missing is about 1 percent and is in line with the national figure for foster children who are runaways.

Gilmore says her department has long has policies in place to see that missing children are located.

The Kansas City Star reports that foster care contractors discussed the issued Tuesday. The discussion was prompted by the disappearance in August of three sisters from a northeast Kansas foster home. Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly, of Topeka, says she’s “flabbergasted.”

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