New DCF secretary wants transparency, changes for children
A Kansas government website that posted photos of people who owed thousands of dollars in child support has been taken down after it caught only one man in a year.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families took down the Child Support Evaders website about a week ago — about a year after it was launched under a different governor.
“It had little to no traffic and was not an effective tool in locating child support evaders,” DCF spokesman Mike Deines said. “Only one evader was caught during the time the site was live.”
“DCF remains committed to locating child support evaders using a variety of methods,” Deines said. “It’s important that efforts are not made public in order to prevent evaders from discovering our tactics.”
Former Gov. Jeff Colyer announced the website in April 2018, seeking anonymous tips from the public on where a so-called evader might be found. State officials said they found one of the evaders after DCF received a tip on the first day the website was up.
The website listed people who owed more than $5,000 in late child support and included the person’s name, mug shot, the amount owed, the number of children they owe support to and where they were last seen.
Now, the website gives an error message.
The initiative was launched under Colyer as the state struggled to improve child support collections. The governor’s office said $840 million in child support was owed to Kansas families in the previous fiscal year, but the state collected only about $206 million.
“Child support is a key component to families’ economic stability,” Colyer said at the time. “Far too many families in our state are left to rely on public assistance when the other parent should be supporting their children financially and emotionally.”
The Kansas site followed similar online photo name-and-shame campaigns by Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia.
“Who wants their face on a website?” Colyer said.
Colyer lost the 2018 Republican governor primary. Democrat Laura Kelly beat Republican Kris Kobach in the general election.