Secretary of DCF claimed almost 13,000 substantiated findings in a letter to CJ Online in 2012
DCF records show that there were 1,916 substantiated findings in that time period
Records also show that there were 30,722 unsubstantiated findings in the same time period
Unsubstantiated findings do not prevent an order to remove a child from the home
On April 12, 2012, CJ Online published a letter from Phyllis Gilmore, the Secretary of SRS for the State of Kansas. Inside the letter, Gilmore claims nearly 13,000 substantiated reports of abuse or neglect in Kansas since July 1, 2011, a claim that is drastically inaccurate.
Gilmore’s letter tells the story of a 9-year-old girl named Raven. Raven’s house was said to be filthy, and her parents were constantly drinking and fighting. Raven’s mother Christine received a DUI, at which point the young girl was removed from the home and placed into foster custody.
The letter goes on to say that Raven was going to be reunited with her family and the Kansas DCF, along with help from TFI, were able to fix this once dysfunctional family.
Governor Sam Brownback dubbed April Child Abuse Prevention Month for the State of Kansas, so releasing Gilmore’s letter was expected. However, what was not expected is how badly she would lie in regards to the number of substantiated cases of abuse and neglect.
Gilmore claimed that from July 1, 2011, to the time of the letter there had been almost “13,000 substantiated reports of abuse or neglect in Kansas.” However, according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families own investigative findings, Gilmore’s numbers were entirely fictional.
30,722 Unsubstantiated Findings in 2012
In the investigative findings for DCF between July 2011 and June 2012, there was a total of 32,638 findings. From the total findings there were only 1,916 substantiated findings, and 30,722 unsubstantiated findings. DCF records show that Gilmore claimed roughly 11,000 substantiated cases that never existed in her 2012 letter to CJ Online.
The towering difference between the numbers Gilmore stated and DCF’s records are not the only problem with her 2012 letter to CJ Online. Gilmore also neglected to present that the Kansas DCF had over 30,000 unsubstantiated cases.
Removal Without Substantiated Findings
In 2014, Brian Dempsey, director of protection and prevention services for the DCF, stated that a substantiated finding is not necessary to order a child removal from a home or to “offer” services to a family.
Kansas DCF used a preponderance of evidence until 2004 when they changed their model to look for clear and convincing evidence that a perpetrator had committed the act of abuse or neglect by legal definition.
While Kansas has some of the highest standards in the country in regards to proving a report of abuse or neglect, those same standards do not protect innocent parents from having their children ripped out of their homes during the investigation, which can generally take 18 months or longer. The parents are often forced to participate in, at times, ridiculous programs and demands to get their children back, despite the end result being unsubstantiated findings.
Unsubstantiated is defined as “not supported or proven by evidence.”