The Kansas Department of Children and Families is spearheading the project.
The plan is to host meetings with all of the child’s family to choose their best plan if the parents are deemed unfit to take care of them.
The family can help give input on safety plans for the child as well as give recommendations to the judge in court proceedings. And if the child is old enough, they can also give their input on best practices as well.
This new approach mimmicks a similar one that has been implemented in Missouri for years.
The hope is to reduce the amount of kids going into the foster system by consulting with those that mean the most to the child first.
“It’s going to be very impactful,” explained Deline Stewart with the department. “The parents are going to have say, the children are going to have say, we’re going to have Grandma at the table, we’re going to have an uncle or maybe it’s a church member, a faith-based organization–we’re going to have everyone involved in help making the best decision for children and their families.”
This new project is the first of its kind to be done in the State of Kansas.
Cherokee and Crawford Counties are the pilot areas.
Representatives from the Kansas DCF hope to meet with at least four families per day once the program starts.