Father hopes bill will get his son out of foster care

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Tobin Hoffman is fighting to get his son back after the state took him away last April.

While working on his family’s farm, his four-month-old son accidentally fell out of the passenger seat of a pickup truck, resulting in a brain bleed, Hoffman said. However, the state believes it was non-accidental.

“We were out helping family work on fence for the cattle season and he fell out of the pickup onto the pasture,” Hoffman said. “The pickup wasn’t moving. We picked him up and he lost consciousness.”

His son was then taken to Coffey County Hospital before being transferred to Children’s Mercy Kansas City. After being under 24 hour surveillance, Hoffman’s son was placed in foster care.

“It was very traumatizing. I am so scared to, if I have another kid, to take him to any hospital or any medical industry, or even any school because I feel like they’re going to take my child away again,” Hoffman said. “I still have not gotten my child back yet.”

Hoffman and his family have invested almost $140,000 in attorney fees in an effort to get their son back.

A bill that lawmakers are considering may help his efforts, Hoffman said.

HB 2187 would create the office of the child advocate for children’s protection and services, a committee created to oversee the state’s foster care system.

KSNT News reached out to the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) earlier this week for a comment on the proposed bill. A DCF spokesperson said the department does not have enough information regarding the bill to comment at this time.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner (R-Louisburg) has advocated for bettering the foster care system this legislative session.

“We have to constantly be advocating for these kids,” Baumgardner said. “We know foster parents are advocating, we know that DCF cares about these kids, it’s part of their job, but we have to, we need to, get a larger umbrella so that more groups are working actively to help foster kids.

The bill has bounced back and forth from the House Committee on Children and Seniors and the House Committee on Appropriations. Currently, it is in the hands of the children and seniors committee, and is awaiting a hearing.

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