TOPEKA — Kansas has canceled two grants to private agencies for services for troubled families and plans to renegotiate the terms of another four grants for services for foster children.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced actions Thursday that undo key decisions made by the Department for Children and Families under former Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer. His administration’s grants were set to start July 1.
Kelly said the grant process wasn’t open enough and the grants were flawed. One agency chosen to provide family preservation services earned low scores in an internal review.
Kelly said existing contracts for family preservation services will be extended another six months so DCF can take competitive bids.
She said existing contracts for foster care services will be extended three months for negotiations with the agencies that won bids to provide the service next year.
The decision comes after information came to light that Kansas awarded millions in grants to a troubled Florida agency to provide child welfare services, even though it earned low scores in an internal review and didn’t apply for some of the work.
The Kansas City Star reports that Eckerd Connects was selected last year to provide services in the state’s east, west and Wichita regions under a grant process. In the past child welfare funds were typically distributed through contracts.
For the western region, Eckerd Connects was awarded $17 million, even though it didn’t initially apply. Documents show that in the other two areas its bids were considerably lower than the agencies the review panel recommended.