TOPEKA — The Kansas Department for Children and Families plans to remove a new rule banning contractors from opposing the agency after questions about whether the change would stifle policy debate and contradict promises of transparency.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the removal comes after the agency announced new child welfare contracts Thursday that raised free-speech concerns. The contracts require prior approval for any public statements identifying the agency.
Christie Appelhanz is the executive director of the Children’s Alliance of Kansas, which represents child welfare agencies. She says the contracts emphasize greater collaboration but prohibit people working within the system from testifying before lawmakers.
The department says the lobbying restriction was meant to foster good public-private partnerships.