At the direction of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, all Department for Children and Families service centers will close to the public, until further notice, beginning Monday, March 23. While the public won’t be able to access buildings, the agency’s core services will continue.
“Our mission is to protect children and strengthen families,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “Our essential staff will continue the important work of investigating abuse and neglect allegations and processing applications for vital assistance programs.”
Core services continuing during the shutdown include:
· The Kansas Protection Report Center (KPRC) will continue taking reports of abuse/neglect
· Both child and adult protection workers will continue to receive and respond to abuse reports
· Foster care operations
· Eligibility workers will continue to process food, cash, LIEAP and child care assistance applications
· Disability Determination Services continue; and
· Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will continue operations.
“We are taking prudent measures to make sure our employees are safe during this time,” Howard said. “While it might take us a bit longer to process an application, we do not anticipate any major interruptions or delays in our core services.
Additionally, we are committed to receiving and responding to reports of abuse/neglect. We may do some of those investigations virtually when possible, but be assured, we’ll work with our law enforcement partners to ensure children and vulnerable adults are safe.”
Kansans also can expect no interruption in child support operations. While DCF child support workers will be on administrative leave, agency contractors will continue their work.
There are several ways for Kansans to connect with DCF during the next two weeks. If someone suspects abuse or neglect, they should call the KPRC at 1-800-922-5330. They also can report allegations online at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Pages/KIPS/KIPSWebIntake.aspx.
Those needing to apply for services like food, cash or child care assistance can apply online at www.dcf.ks.gov. Paper applications also will be available outside each DCF service center across the state. Completed applications can be left in drop boxes outside each service center or mailed to local service center.
Kansans who need to report a change or need to provide information about their case can email or mail their local DCF service center. They also can see if their benefits have been processed by going to ebtEDGE at www.ebtedge.com.
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. March 31, 2020. Each DCF region also will have a dedicated emergency service phone number.