TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly signed the child welfare bill 2024 alongside Wichita legislators and community members Thursday, June 8.

The bill, named in honor of Representative Gail Finney, outlines the rights of foster youth, foster parents and family caregivers, according to a press release from the State of Kansas.

Photo courtesy of the State of Kansas.

“Representative Gail Finney was a warrior for children, and I can think of no better way to pay tribute to her incredible legacy than with this bill, which she worked so tirelessly to bring to my desk,” Kelly said. “This law will empower children and families in the foster care system by providing some much-needed clarity and by making them explicitly aware of what information, services, and supports they are entitled to within the system.”

As of Feb. 2023, more than 6,000 children are in foster care in Kansas. Under the bill, the Department of Children and Families is required to give written and verbal notification of rights outlined in the bill of rights to foster youth, foster parents and kinship caregivers, according to the press release.

Photo courtesy of the State of Kansas.

“I can’t put into words how honored I am to be a part of delivering this entire process. Not just an important piece of legislation but such a wonderful tribute to someone who worked to make the best of the sunset of her own life,” Representative Ford Carr said. “Our entire legislature pulled together, regardless of party lines, and made her dreams a reality for so many Kansas foster children and families. There is much more work to be done. With Gail watching over my shoulders and guiding my steps, together we will continue working to make things better for the future of foster children of Kansas.”

The bill also ensures cases of child mistreatment are thoroughly investigated.