New bill aims to keep children with families and out of foster care

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new bill is aiming to keep children out of foster care and with their families.

Members of the Kansas Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics met with legislatures Tuesday to discuss the Family Services Preservation Act.

Governor Laura Kelly was among the speakers.

The organization says most children are removed from homes because of neglect, mainly due to mental illness and addiction. The act would allow federal reimbursement of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and parenting training for the families.

"It's a better use of the dollars," said Dr. Lisa Gilmer, the President of the Kansas Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. "It will serve more children than the number that reach the foster care system to try and reduce the number of children that are put into foster care in our own state and across the country."

The bill will also work to improve life for children already in the foster care system by incentivizing states to reduce the number of kids in group homes.