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Reported Plan Requiring Foster Care Couples to Marry Raises Concerns

Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Carr Kittel (KIT-el) is raising questions about possible changes to the state’s foster care program. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean reports, the judge is concerned the state may soon require foster-care couples to be married.

 Want more on this story?  Click here to visit the KHI News Service and get a longer version.  



Judge Kittel outlined her concerns in a letter to officials at the Kansas Department of Children and Families. She says requiring all couples providing foster to marry…would reduce the number of foster homes at a time when there are near record numbers of children in the system.   Representative Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican, has similar concerns. She says they’re based on reports she’s getting from people who work in the foster care system.   D-C-F Spokesperson Theresa Freed confirms the agency is conducting a top-to-bottom review of the foster care program. But she says no decisions have been made on new policies.   “We are in the early stages of conducting a long and thorough process of review and deliberation of the program,” said Freed.   The changes being discussed are said to be a part of Governor Sam Brownback’s ongoing efforts to use state policy to promote marriage.   I’m Jim McLean.


Jim McLean, Executive Editor of KHI News Service, oversees the KHI News Service. From 2005 until 2013, McLean coordinated all communications activities at KHI as Vice President for Public Affairs. The position he now occupies was created as part of a strategic initiative to solidify the editorial and operational independence of the KHI News Service. Prior to coming to KHI, McLean had a distinguished career as a journalist, serving as the news director and Statehouse bureau chief for Kansas Public Radio and a managing editor for the Topeka Capital-Journal. During his more than 20 years in Kansas journalism, McLean won numerous awards for journalistic excellence from the Kansas Press Association, regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters. In 1997, McLean and two Capital-Journal colleagues received the Burton W. Marvin News Enterprise Award from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism for a series of stories on the state’s business climate. McLean holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washburn University.