Broken System: Kansas Determines a Child Rapist is in the Best Interest of a Child
A Kansas judge recently determined the best interest of a child is to be reintegrated with a convicted sex offender. The convicted sex offender is the child’s father. The child’s foster mother, Mandy Jones, recently sent me the following message,
“The harder I fight, the worse it gets. I can’t do it anymore. I am broken. I never thought I would be considered worse for a child than a rapist.”
To clarify, Mandy is a phenomenal person and is not worse than a child rapist. Along with a recommendation from a member of the Westboro Baptist Church legally representing the child (yes… you read that correctly), the judge in this case determined the following:
The goal of this case is reunification and Mandy was found not to be in the best interest of the child because she does not support the reunification of this child with her father.
Moreover, my goal here is to share this story in the hope that things will change. I intend to show the poor treatment of a loving foster family by the leaders of the foster care system in Kansas and expose some of the horrible decisions being made in this broken system.
KVC Kansas: leading through ignorance
“Closed minds STOP thought crimes!” — Thought Police from George Orwell’s book 1984
A recent article drafted by KVC Kansas about KVC Kansas was shared on social media. In Why Child Welfare Privatization Made Kansas a National Leader, KVC attempted to make the argument as to why they made Kansas a national leader in foster care. Essentially, they wrote an article stating they are a national leader. Let’s look at some of the statements in the article,
“Thankfully, accountability is built into the current system. Contractors like KVC Kansas operate with significant transparency and monitoring at the local, state and federal levels and welcome ongoing reviews.”
Just to be clear, KVC Kansas is not a transparent organization and there is no accountability built into the current system. If transparency and accountability was built into the system, then how do you explain the 70 plus missing children from the Kansas foster care system or the lawsuit filed against DCF and KVC — Lawsuit: Kansas DCF failed to protect 7-year-old who was fed to pigs.
Let’s look at another statement,
“KVC Kansas is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and the family preservation and reintegration contracts it holds with the Kansas Department for Children and Families prohibit KVC from making a profit.”
Bottom line… you are a business. Just as Toyota makes a profit from car sales, you make money based on the number of foster children in care. Don’t believe me, read Should We Profit From Foster Children?
I commented on this pretentious article, for which KVC Kansas shared and sponsored on Facebook. In my remarks, I described some of the concerns found in this article. Let’s look at their response,
“Call our customer service department.”
Foster parent speaks out
“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” — Hermann Hesse
Mandy first contacted me in August regarding her concerns for a foster child. In The Clock is Ticking: Save an Infant Girl Living with Intellectual Disabled, Sex Offender Father, I wrote about Mandy’s concerns. Essentially, one of her foster children was being placed back with her biological parents, where the father was a convicted sex offender. Mandy was also concerned that the child was being molested by her father during home visits.
Mandy informed me that she brought these concerns to KVC and nothing had been done. She brought up the concern of molestation and the fathers history as a sex offender. She was told since he was convicted in a different state that this was not a concern. When she brought up the concern of molestation, she was told there was no proof, even though a nurse had validated her concerns.
In my first article on this case I provided contact information for different organizations and people. I encouraged everyone to call and voice their concerns, for which people did voice their concerns. What was extremely disappointing was that KVC actually started hanging up on people if they mentioned the article.
Furthermore, the Topeka Capital-Journal picked up the story a few weeks later and spoke with Mandy — Kansas foster mother believes DCF, KVC ignored signs of abuse.
In the end, the child was placed back with her biological parents. However, Mandy never stopped fighting.
KVC Kansas + DCF Kansas = Thought Police
Mandy and her husband were on the receiving end of harsh backlash for speaking out. They received threats from the child’s biological family, strangers, and of course DCF and KVC. Instead of doing the right thing, KVC turned on their own foster parents.
After the Topeka Capital-Journal story went live, Mandy started to receive weird phone calls and suspected she was being followed. She received messages from fellow foster parents, where they attempted to get Mandy to provide personal details about her case. Essentially, they were trying to set her up.
She was then contacted by KVC Kansas and informed that she (along with her husband) would be required to sign a new document in order to remain as foster parents. Let’s take a look at this document — Partnership Development Plan.
Working from top to bottom:
- Describe the need: There was a breech in confidentiality for that child and her parents. Direct names were not given, but medical information was shared as well as parental backgrounds.
- My Response: The only portion of this that is accurate is the fact that direct names were not given. Medical information was NOT shared, neither was parental backgrounds. How do I know? I wrote the initial article.
- Why this is a Need: Each licensee shall keep each child’s recorded information confidential. A licensee shall not disclose medical or social information relating to any child in foster care without authorization from the child’s child-placing agency.
- My Response: Again, there was no confidentiality breech. No information was disclosed.
- Actions/Tasks and person(s) responsible: Mandy and Coby Jones will remain in compliance with all rules and regulations as outlined by DCF and KVC policies.
- My Response: Did they pull this from one of George Orwell’s books?
Key takeaway from the Jones meeting with KVC:
- The supervisor didn’t know anything specific about the case. Neither did she have access to information regarding the case. She told Mandy that she would pass their questions on to her “higher-ups.”
- My response: She played the role of ignorant supervisor very well.
- Mandy discussed concerns regarding the case planning team assigned to the case. A caseworker recently remarked that they were six months behind on entering documentation into the system for the child’s casefile. Mandy also questioned the lack of discernment shown by the case manager regarding the child’s safety. The supervisor stated that she would move the Jones to another case team.
- My response: So, new unsuspecting foster parents will have to work with this person? That’s the solution?!
- When asked why they were being required to sign his document, the supervisor admitted that it was due to the fact that they went to the media and KVC was angry. Mandy then asked about the confidentiality accusations, for which the supervisor said she wasn’t sure exactly what was breeched because she hasn’t looked, but she was told that something was.
- My response: She was accusing them of breeching confidentiality, yet there was no proof. In essence, she was trying to get Mandy and Coby to admit guilt by signing this document. Furthermore, she (the supervisor) also admitted that they were punishing Mandy and Coby for going to the media. If only Mandy would have just believed she was wrong because the supervisor was told by someone that something was breeched!
Mandy and Coby are the only foster parents within KVC Kansas required to sign this document. The supervisor herself is also a foster parent, yet she is not required to sign the same document. Mandy then asked about the initial document (Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure agreement) they signed back in January 2017. Let’s take a quick look at this document:
Pay close attention to the second sentence: The general expectation that personnel or subcontractors will keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is necessary to prevent serious, foreseeable, and imminent harm to a client or other identifiable person or when laws or regulations require disclosure without a client’s consent. Again, no confidential information was disclosed. However, even if they would have shared confidential information, this agreement shows that they had every right to.
The Jones attempted to prevent serious, foreseeable, and definitely imminent harm to the child. They presented their concerns to KVC Kansas on numerous occasions, yet nothing happened. They never intended to go to the media, yet they were left with no choice. They even produced valid evidence as to why the child was in imminent danger. Yet, in my personal opinion, the only evidence I would have needed was the fact that the father was a convicted sex offender, which can be found through a simple search on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Public Offender Registry… for which you can still find the father.
Moreover, Mandy was even contacted by a stepchild of the sex offender. Now an adult, he told Mandy that anyone living with this man was in life-threatening danger. He also told Mandy the following,
“Make no mistake about it… this man is a monster. He was convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse in the 3rd degree after it was proven he raped his 8-year-old stepdaughter for almost three years before getting caught.”
At the end of the phone conversation with the KVC supervisor, Mandy and Coby requested to speak with someone who actually knew information about the case. The supervisor informed them that she would speak with her director and get back with them by the end of the week. That was November 16th and they are still waiting to hear from them.
Lastly, the coordinator who was physically with the Jones told them they would not place anymore children in their home. Essentially, unless they agree to sign the document and agree to never go to the media they would not be allowed to be foster parents.
Child placed back in foster care
In December, Mandy was contacted by KVC regarding the foster child. Once again, the child was removed from her biological parents. Unexpectedly, KVC wanted to place the child back with the Joneses. Without a second thought, Mandy agreed and the child was back in her home.
The return of the child was short lived — four days later the child was removed from Jones residence. Since the goal for the child is still reunification and because the Joneses do not support reunification in this specific case, a judge (again, advised by a member of the Westboro Baptist Church) decided to remove the child.
My question here is… Who in their right mind would support reunification of this child with a convicted sex offender? Especially since this is not the first time the child has been removed from her biological family. This is also not the first child removed from these parents. It’s not that the Joneses do not support reunification for other foster children, they just do not support it for this child. Would you support reunification of an infant girl back into a home of a convicted sex offender?
In the end, this judge is at fault for making a horrible decision in this case. In addition to the judge, the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) felt the child should be returned to the father. The GAL is the individual who is a member of The Westboro Baptist Church.
As a parent, I could not imagine going through what Mandy has gone through. To bring the child back only to take her away again in four days is ridiculous. Additionally, by bringing the child back to the Joneses, KVC Kansas essentially admitted that Mandy’s concerns were valid… why else would they return the child back to her after she spoke out against them? Yet, they should have fought hard to keep the child with Mandy.
The decision of this one judge demonstrates the lack of judgement (pun intended) on behalf of our judicial system. Decisions are being made with a complete lack of evidence as to what is going on in each specific case. Additionally, I have had numerous phone calls with Kansas politicians. They all agree with me, yet they refuse to do anything about this case. I tried to get three different politicians to contact Mandy (two from the House and one from the Senate) and they refused to speak with her. Mandy even attempted to call them herself and they refused to return her phone calls.
So, what can we do about this? One such change was recently set in motion. The Secretary of DCF recently resigned allowing for a change in leadership. Gina Meier-Hummel is the new leader of Kansas’ troubled child welfare department promises new transparent agency. Only time will tell if she is the right person for the job. A close examination of her remarks when she took over reveals a contradiction with the old regime (and KVC),
Gina Meier-Hummel said she will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the department and push for a “new transparent agency.”
So, even she recognizes the current system is nowhere near transparent. My largest caution with the new leader is that she has a long history with KVC and used to work for KVC. For now, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s hope she can bring about positive change.
My hope is this discussion will provide others the courage to speak out and follow in Mandy’s footsteps. It takes a great amount of courage to do what Mandy has done.
Let me leave you with one last quote from Pastor Martin Niemoller,
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”