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Gov. Laura Kelly announces plans to merge departments into Kansas Department of Human Services

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Posted at 12:02 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 13:02:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday her plans to merge several state departments to form the Kansas Department of Human Services.

The new KDHS will consist of what are now the Department of Children and Families, Department for Aging and Disability Services and the juvenile services division of the Department of Corrections.

Laura Howard, who is the current secretary of DCF and KDADS, will lead KDHS.

The newly-formed KDHS will provide services to poor and troubled families, the elderly, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled in addition to overseeing juvenile justice programs.

Kelly said Wednesday that she believes Kansas residents now served by the Department for Children and Families and the Department for Aging and Disability Services will benefit from interacting with a single government agency.

“The Department of Human Services will partner with communities across the state to create a single point of entry for those who need access to services for things like child welfare, mental health, economic support and juvenile justice,” Kelly said.

Howard echoed Kelly’s thoughts.

“This combination of services gives us an opportunity to think differently about service delivery. We want Kansans to have seamless access to programs and services that will allow them to thrive. KDHS will be known for its innovation and willingness to work with community partners,” Howard said.

Kelly’s administration is stressing that it's not a move to cut costs or employees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.