WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -- The Department for Children and Families says and internal and independent review of the department's Wichita office and its connections to the FaithBuilders organization has been completed.
The internal DCF review started after complaints alleging that FaithBuilders -- which provides respite and foster care as well as mentoring for parents facing crises -- had encouraged some parents to place their children into temporary foster care and then sign away their parental rights so the children could be adopted.
The investigation looked into 4 specific allegations that were made:
1. FaithBuilders was selling children out for adoption to the "highest bidder."
2. Andrea Dixon and FaithBuilders, "have the power to override decisions by DCCA, DCF, and the District Attorney when it comes to placing children in foster care and adoptions," because of Dixon's Connections;
3. Andrea Dixon exercised unecessary influence over DCF child placement decisions in the Wichita area.
4. Andrea Dixon and FaithBuilders actively promote adoption of "at-risk" children instead of working to reintegrate such children with their biological families.
The review states that there was no evidence to support the first two allegations. However, It did find evidence to support the allegations that Andrea Dixon had unecessary influence over DCF child placement decision in the Wichita area.
It also found insufficient evidence to support the allegation, but noted that even if it had uncovered evidence, it was not in violation of the law.
The review concluded that the fault lay with employees of the Wichita office of the Department for Children and Families allowing Dixon and FaithBuilders access to confidential information and not Dixon of the organization.
The report says the employees involved have been disciplined. However, the report did not specify how the employees were disciplined.
in an emailed statement, DCF Secretary -Phyllis Gilmore said, “The report represents a comprehensive effort to answer the questions raised, both through internal and independent review processes. A few DCF staff members within the Wichita Region violated DCF policies and procedures. They have been held accountable. I truly believe this is an isolated situation and all appropriate action has been taken."
KAKE News contacted Theresa Freed, spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families by telephone seeking specific information on what action had been taken against the employees. We received the following reply by email:
"The exact "appropriate action" for the employees was not outlined because it's a personnel matter. The individuals have been held accountable. The report does outline the policy violations, including sharing confidential information and allowing an individual to have input on case management who was not authorized."
Freed said that even though the employees involved are public employees, personnel matters regarding those employees are not part of the public record. Eemployment status and pay of employees is public information, but Freed said that could only be obtained if we provided specific requests with specific names of the employees.
The ban on children being placed in foster homes through FaithBuilders has been lifted.