Opinion Columns & Blogs

Also audit how DCF treats same-sex couples

It’s appropriate that a legislative panel voted Wednesday to authorize an audit of the safety of the foster care system. But it also should have asked auditors to examine whether the Kansas Department for Children and Families discriminates against same-sex couples. Several same-sex couples throughout the state have said they were bullied and discriminated against by DCF when they attempted to adopt foster children. In a 2013 sealed ruling obtained by the media, a Johnson County judge wrote that DCF, including top officials in the agency, “conducted a ‘witch hunt’” against a lesbian couple seeking to adopt an infant they had cared for since birth. Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, has signed statements from 13 attorneys saying they had evidence DCF had weighed sexual orientation in adoption and foster care cases. The lawyers are barred from disclosing that evidence because of confidentiality laws but can share it if a state audit is approved. But it wasn’t. Lawmakers chose to look the other way. – Phillip Brownlee