Some Republican lawmakers upset after Gov. Kelly signs executive order creating Division of the Child Advocate

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Some Republicans in the state are upset after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order creating the Division of the Child Advocate.

Gov. Kelly said the division will protect Kansas children and families within the child welfare system and will be an independent oversight. She explained it as a way to have another set of eyes on what it is they are doing.

The duties of the new role include compiling complaints on behalf of kids within the child welfare system, as well as reviewing practices of agents in the system and educating children and families on their rights.

Some Republican lawmakers believe this will leave them without a say and take away their input. Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Louisburg Republican, believes the new division doesn’t guarantee confidentiality and lacks transparency.

“She is going to have this office under her department of administration of which she appoints that secretary,” Sen. Baumgardner said. “She is going to select the child advocate and her executive order also obligates the state to fund this individual for five years it’s a 5-year contract.”

The committee will be assisted, but not fully managed, by the Department of Administration. The new advocacy positions will create separation from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services and the Kansas Department of Children and Families.

Gov. Kelly is looking to name the director of the new division soon.

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