TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two Kansas republicans are speaking out about how the Department of Children and Families handled previous reports of possible about Zoey Felix.

Tuesday evening, Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson (R, Andover) and Speaker Dan Hawkins (R, Wichita) released a joint statement claiming DCF “failed to Protect Zoey Felix. The statement comes after DCF shared its case summary for Felix.

“With the release of the case summary of the child death, it is clear that the Kelly/Toland Administration’s Department for Children and Families failed to protect Zoey Felix. The report indicates their agency had been called nine separate times on the wellbeing of Zoey Felix and yet failed to act to ensure her safety. This young child’s tragic death could have been prevented had the agency and this administration done their jobs.”

Statement excerpt

According to the statement, Gov. Laura Kelly pledged in her campaign to reform the foster care system and keep children in the state’s care safe. But, as GOP leadership pointed out, there are still children sleeping out of their homes, children the agency cannot find and multiple opportunities when DCF could have stepped in to protect Felix, but didn’t.

Masterson and Hawkins said they plan to push through legislation in the upcoming session to change the system.

“This coming session, the Legislature will act to create an independent Office of Child Advocate, to bring real accountability to the child welfare system. The system is failing multiple children, and its failure to protect Zoey Felix is the final indication that the only way to bring accountability is to create an independent office outside of this administration.”

Statement Excerpt