TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas is one of twelve jurisdictions chosen for a special mentoring project through the Administration for Children and Families called Thriving Families, Safer Children. Designed to leverage various stakeholders to steward longstanding, transformative change, Kansas’ partnership with Thriving Families, Safer Children will create the conditions for strong, prosperous communities where children are free from harm.

“I am pleased to see Kansas has been selected as a Thriving Families, Safer Children jurisdiction,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The safety and well-being of Kansas’ children is my top priority, and since 2018, we have made needed progress and investments to focus on early prevention and intervention. Through our participation in this project, we will be able to reshape child welfare in Kansas for the betterment of all children and families.”

Kansas was selected to participate in the Thriving Families, Safer Children program because of the Kelly administration’s ongoing commitment to creating safer, more nurturing environments for children in Kansas.

The team overseeing the Thriving Families, Safer Children project will involve the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Kansas Children’s Service League and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust fund to improve primary prevention efforts. This team will address longstanding challenges to:

  1. Address the systemic barriers to creating a child well-being system in Kansas,
  2. Develop robust networks of community based primary prevention support,
  3. Integrate family, youth and community expertise into child well-being systems,
  4. And revise statutory definitions of neglect and mandatory reporting to clearly differentiate maltreatment from poverty.

“The Department for Children and Families is excited about the opportunity to leverage the Thriving Families, Safer Children project to improve our work,” said Secretary of DCF Laura Howard. “This project is a continuation of Governor Kelly’s commitment to improve the lives of Kansas’ future leaders and will be instrumental in improving our state’s primary prevention efforts and keeping children in their homes safely.”

“We are excited for this opportunity to collaborate with these national and state partners to reimagine and recreate our child welfare system into one that achieves the outcomes we all want to see: thriving children, families, and communities,” said Melissa Rooker, executive director of the Children’s Cabinet, which will help lead this effort in Kansas.

Kansas has been selected as a Round Two jurisdiction to develop strategies to transform existing child welfare systems and build infrastructure to support and strengthen child and family well-being. Round Two jurisdictions will specifically provide support for the integration of community, family, and youth expertise in creating the foundation for strong child and family well-being systems by welcoming and harnessing community, family, and youth voices, conducting policy analysis and drafting new policy or legislation, strategic consultation on approaches for human services delivery system integration, expert technical assistance on data infrastructure and other specific assistance.

About Thriving Families, Safer Children:

The United States Children’s Bureau (CB), Casey Family Programs (CFP), the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) and Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA) (“National Partners”) have joined together with parents, youth and community organizations in partnership across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to assist Thriving Families, Safer Children jurisdictions in creating a more just and equitable child and family well-being system that benefits all children and families and breaks harmful intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty.