Foster Care and Mental Health Reform

Community Mental Health- Our community mental health centers provide critical services for our families and teens in crisis. In addition to leading the charge to restoring mental health funding vetoed by the Governor, I was also honored to vote for a budget that added $3.7 million to help expand access to locally-based mental health services, in addition to addressing shortfalls at our State Hospitals.

Foster Care Reform- Through the budget process, the Legislature approved 55 additional Department of Children and Families (DCF) professionals to expedite reform of our foster care system, and put in place necessary funding to adopt the Family First Protection Act to modernize and stabilize our children welfare system. In 2020, I was appointed to the Special Committee on Foster Care Oversight with the tasked with receiving input from families, social workers, and other stakeholders on progress and shortfalls in the State's child welfare system, and make recommendations to the Legislature on additional improvements and oversight needed to improve the State's child welfare system.

Other areas we were able to prioritize in the budget included funding to address overcrowding at our correctional facilities, to address the waiting lists of Kansans with developmental/intellectual disabilities in need of home-based care for Kansans, and re-stabilizing KPERS.