Last week, a damning audit of the Kansas Department for Children and Families conducted by the Legislative Division of Post Audit was released. The audit highlights several extremely serious issues within the DCF which recently caused legislators to immediately demand the resignation of Phyllis Gilmore, Secretary of the Kansas DCF.
A little background…
The audit was originally requested in December 2015 by Jim Ward, Democratic member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Representative Ward claimed the DCF displayed bias against same-sex couples. At that time in 2015, Representatives on the committee requested more time to develop a broader audit request that could potentially uncover even more problems inside the DCF that existed outside the scope of Representative Ward’s original request.
In January 2016, a legislative committee approved the execution of an audit into the Kansas DCF. It was decided that the audit would be one of the largest of its kind and would determine whether Kansas DCF policies were ensuring the safety of children. It was decided then, in January 2016, that lawmakers would meet again that April, at which point the specific issue of same-sex discrimination would possibly be added on to the audit.
Come April 2016, a small group of lawmakers drew a line in the sand and persistently resisted Representative Ward’s request of including an investigation into the discrimination of same sex households into the audit. Ward argued that evidence existed to show that discrimination was present within the DCF and it needed to be in the audit. Jim Ward stated, “it is unconstitutional for the group to ignore the evidence presented.“
Phyllis Gillmore, Secretary of the Kansas DCF, responded to Representative Ward’s accusations of discrimination in a letter sent to the Legislative Division of Post Audit. In the letter, Gillmore claimed the Kansas DCF had no policies, forms or other documents related to same-sex couples serving as foster or adoptive parents. She went on to say that DCF workers are given no guidance in regards to same-sex couples.
Eventually, Representative Ward’s specific request was denied after a 5-4 vote declined to include the discrimination of same-sex couples into the audit. It was decided then however, that the Legislative Division of Post Audit would move forward with their audit against the Kansas DCF.
Who is performing this audit?
The Legislative Division of Post Audit is the Kansas state office that handles audits for the Kansas Legislature. The audits conducted by the Division are to examine if state agency programs are effective in carrying out their duties, are efficient with their resources, or are in compliance with relevant laws, regulations and other requirements. Basically, the Legislative Division of Post Audit should strike fear in the hearts of any wrong-doers within State offices. If corruption or inefficiency exists in a State office, an audit by the “LPA” should expose it.
The audits performed by the LPA fall under the direction of the Legislative Post Audit Committee. The committee is made up of five senators and five representatives. While legislators, legislative committees, and governors can request a performance audit, the Legislative Post Audit Committee must approve which audits are conducted.
Once the committee decides which areas of the government will be audited, the individual audits are carried out by the division’s internal staff. The results of these audits are released without any input whatsoever from the committee or other legislators to help ensure the audits are unbiased and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Legislative Post Audit Committee.
At this time, the Legislative Post Audit Committee is made up of:
- Senator Michael O’Donnell
- Senator Anthony Hensley
- Senator Laura Kelly
- Senator Jeff Longbine
- Senator Julia Lynn
- Representative Virgil Peck
- Representative John Barker
- Representative Tom Burroughs
- Representative Peggy Mast
- Representative Ed Trimmer.
In our continued articles, we will continue to chronologically explore everything surrounding the recent audit of the Kansas DCF. In addition, The Daily Haze will be releasing never-seen-before documentation and evidence relating to certain “closed” Kansas DCF cases that could potentially ruin the agency altogether.
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