Kansas governor proposes new state agency, combine services



A proposed plan from Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is pushing for a new department that would condense social welfare programs under one agency. The plan would create the Kansas Department of Human Services to lessen the gap between clients and services.

Governor Laura Kelly today announced her intent to once again submit an executive reorganization order (ERO) to the Kansas Legislature creating the Kansas Department of Human Services (KDHS). The new agency will include the current programs at the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).

“Creating the Department of Human Services ensures Kansas families and individuals have easier access to critical services and improves engagement between our service centers, clients, and local stakeholders by creating a single point of entry for those accessing a variety of needs,” Governor Kelly said. “Through this ERO, my administration reaffirms our commitment to ensuring vulnerable Kansans have someone advocating for them in Topeka.”

Programs in the new agency will include:
     1. Adult protective services
     2. Adult behavioral health
     3. Long-term services and supports
     4. Economic supports
     5. Employment supports
     6. Children’s mental health supports
     7. Child protective services
     8. Foster care
     9. Prevention
     10. Licensing, credentialing, survey and certification
     11. Larned State Hospital
     12. Parsons State Hospital
     13. Osawatomie State Hospital
     14. Kansas Neurological Institute

Current Secretary of DCF and KDADS, Laura Howard, will lead the new KDHS.

“This is not going to be business as usual,” Secretary Howard said. “This new combined agency provides us the opportunity to modernize systems for youth, families, and the elderly. KDHS means less bureaucracy standing between clients and the services they need.

“I look forward to collaborating with communities across the state to guarantee individuals have seamless access to the supports and services they need to achieve their goals and to make sure we are walking alongside families as they address their challenges head-on.”

Governor Kelly will submit the ERO to the legislature on Jan. 21. The ERO becomes effective on July 1, following its transmittal to the legislature, unless within 60 calendar days of transmittal, either the Senate or House adopts a resolution disapproving it.