TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A former state lawmaker and Lt. Gov. candidate has been appointed Deputy Secretary for the new Department for Children and Family Services.
SRS Secretary Phyllis Gilmore announced Friday that Kathe Decker will serve as Deputy Secretary for Family Services. SRS changes its name to the Dept. for Children and Family Services, effective July 1, 2012.
Decker, from Clay Center, currently serves as Director of SRS' Economic and Employment Services programs. She oversees benefits programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, child care assistance and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program.
In the new Department for Children and Families, Decker will continue to oversee EES programs, as well as child welfare, adoption and foster care, child support enforcement and vocational rehabilitation programs.
"Kathe Decker is a perfect fit for this position," Gilmore said in a news release. "She has a comprehensive understanding of the four program areas she will oversee. Her outstanding performance as EES director, combined with her experience in the Kansas Legislature and the private sector, are just what we need to help us launch our new, family-centered agency."
Decker's predecessor as Deputy Secretary for Integrated Services Delivery at SRS, Jim Kallinger, resigned earlier this month to return to his home state to pursue other endeavors. He spent 16 months with SRS.
Decker ran the Cornerstone Appraisal Service in Clay Center for 17 years, working for local banks as well as the Veterans Administration. She served in the Kansas Legislature for more than eight years, chairing the K-12 Education Committee. She also served on the Judiciary, School Finance and Budget, and the KBI, Highway Patrol and Corrections budget committees.
She left the Legislature in 2006 to campaign as Dr. Ken Canfield's gubernatorial running mate.
Decker and her husband Clint currently divide their time between Clay Center and Topeka. She has one adult daughter and three grandchildren.