Home Advocate Kelly’s Kansas Children’s Advocate Division clinch bipartisan victory

Kelly’s Kansas Children’s Advocate Division clinch bipartisan victory

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Former Kansas State Representatives Mary Martha Good and Monica Murnan are from different parties, but they both know the state’s new division of the Child Advocate will help children in need.

Earlier this month, Governor Laura Kelly created the Division of the Child Advocate, making Kansas the 14th state in the country with an independent agency dedicated to overseeing our child welfare system.

It is a huge victory for our children and for our families, and a bipartisan victory that every Kansan can celebrate.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have worked to establish this office for years, but couldn’t come to an agreement. As former lawmakers of opposing parties, we commend Governor Kelly for helping to draw this critical divide. The Child Advocate Division will increase the accountability and advocacy of families navigating our foster care system.

At this point, most Kansans know the story of the issues plaguing our foster care system. They know why it is so important.

The previous administration neglected and underfunded the system. The budget of the Ministry of Children and Families has been cut to the bone. The agency has emptied.

Government support services that help keep families together have been cut dramatically. More and more children were entering the system unnecessarily and being stuck there for the long term.

When Kelly took office, the system was in crisis. Clear and simple. We were failing our children. Otherwise our families.

In three years, the Kelly administration has implemented common sense reforms that have made a significant difference in the lives of Kansas families navigating the child welfare system.

But the governor said it best when announcing: “Our job will never be finished.” We must continue to do all we can to fight for our most vulnerable children. This is why the Children’s Advocate Division is so important.

He will take a close look at the system and recommend structural changes Kansas can make to better stand up for our children. It will help Kansas families navigate the confusing child welfare system. And it will provide an independent accountability system to handle and investigate complaints.

The road to finally setting up this new division has been long and strewn with pitfalls. In a state and country that seem increasingly divided on all political issues under the sun, it brings us pride to see a common sense, practical and bipartisan idea realized.

We are grateful to Governor Kelly, child protection advocates and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who came together to make this possible.

We encourage Kansas’ leaders to carry this bipartisan spirit with them to the next legislative session and to every session. Because when we work together, we can do good things for the people of Kansas.

Mary Martha Good, a Republican, and Monica Murnan, a Democrat, are former representatives of the state of Kansas.


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