WICHITA (AP) — Lawmakers are expressing outrage after learning more than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas.
Foster care contractors provided the information during a meeting Tuesday in response to questions about the disappearance of three sisters from a northeast Kansas foster home, The Kansas City Star reports. Police believe the still-missing girls — ages 15, 14 and 12 — ran away in August.
Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, told a child welfare task force meeting that when she asked DCF about the missing children on Tuesday, the agency knew nothing. She said after the meeting that she was “flabbergasted.”
The Kansas Department for Children and Families’ chief, Phyllis Gilmore, said that in many cases, children seeking to get out of foster care go back to their biological families or other people with whom they have a relationship.
KVC Kansas, one of the foster care contractors, said it has roughly 38 missing children. The other company, Saint Francis Community Services, said 36 are missing in its system.
Chad Anderson, chief clinical officer at KVC Kansas, told the child welfare task force that the number of missing represented about 1 percent of the foster care population and is in line with the national average. Still, he acknowledged the contractor could do a better job.