Opinion Columns & Blogs

Lawmaker wants to end privatized foster care

Rep. Mike Kiegerl, R-Olathe, is calling for an end to the state’s privatized foster care system or a radical overhaul, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Kiegerl, an economist who “fervently believes in private sector efficiency,” wrote in a report to lawmakers that it grieved him to “categorically state that this program as currently in place ought to be eliminated.” The state privatized its child welfare system in 1996. Kiegerl’s report concluded that the state is overspending on foster care because of duplicated services and because private contractors need to make a profit. “It is not unreasonable to assume that substantial cost savings and better services and control and efficiency would result by bringing the contracted services back in house,” the report said. – Phillip Brownlee