Opinion Columns & Blogs

No need for money to help disabled find jobs?

Cash-strapped Kansas is in no position to be declining federal dollars that could assist vulnerable populations, so it was surprising that the Kansas Department for Children and Families returned $15 million to the federal government intended to help people with disabilities find and keep jobs. DCF official Michael Donnelly told the Kansas Health Institute News Service that applicants for help had declined dramatically since 2011 because of the improving economy, also noting that Kansas would have to put up $3.5 million in matching money to keep the feds’ $15 million. But Mike Oxford, executive director of the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, was unaware that the money had been returned and challenged the idea that the need had declined. “If their (vocational rehabilitation) numbers were down, there should have been a strategy, a plan for reaching out to more people, for exploring every possible avenue for using this money to benefit Kansans instead of just giving it back.” – Rhonda Holman