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DCF, Wichita Law Enforcement help support Kansas families

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Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 12:17 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Department of Children and Families has partnered with Wichita Law Enforcement agencies to support Kansas families.

The Department of Children and Families says as part of a mutli-agency effort to connect Kansas families with support networks and services, it is collaborating with the Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department.

“DCF and Wichita area law enforcement have a long history of working collaboratively at the Exploited and Missing Children’s Unit,” Howard said. “This new approach expands our partnership by supporting families in an effort to prevent children and families from entering the child welfare system.”

DCF says through an agreement between the three agencies, it is funding three community support specialist case manager positions. It says WPD employs two of the positions and the third is employed by the Sedgwick Co. Sheriff.

According to DCF, the specialists visit family homes when law enforcement identifies a home environment in crisis or in need of support services. It says the specialists make referrals to community-based services for parent skill-building, home visiting, mental health services and substance abuse services. It says the workers can also connect families with education on safe sleep, parental peer support, public health and school district program support.

“The two new community support specialists embedded into WPD would not be possible without the collaboration with DCF,” Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “WPD is appreciative of this partnership, and the support specialists are essential in working hand-in-hand with law enforcement to ensure needed families are provided with support and services to be successful.”

“DCF and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office entered into an agreement at the end of 2019 to have a community support specialist embedded into the Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Jeffrey Easter said. “We already seeing positive results for the community due to the work the community support specialist is doing. We appreciate the collaborative effort with DCF to help families and in keeping kids safe.”

DCF says law enforcement supervisors will also now have access to its child abuse and neglect information system, KIPS. It says the arrangement provides important child welfare information to officers when they respond to calls involving children and families.

“I believe that over time, this new initiative may lead to a reduction in the number of contacts a family has with law enforcement, reduced formal contact with DCF and prevention of child abuse and neglect,” Howard said.

DCF says the funding for the partnership comes from federal child abuse and neglect prevention programs.

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