We’re Kathey and Rob Raskin of Las Vegas and we care about foster children in this country. Clint Blansett’s son, Caleb, who was just 10 years old, had been dead a few days when a social worker from the state can knocking. She wanted him to sign a form saying he wouldn’t discuss his son’s death or the Kansas Department for Children and Families. He wasn’t to comment about the agency’s relationship with the family before Caleb’s mom smashed his head with a rock while he slept and then stabbed him seven times.
Blansett said it was a gag order. He stated, “She was there to ensure […] I wouldn’t speak to the press. That was her only concern.”
Other parents and Kansas legislators say they’ve battled this for years, an agency charged with protecting children instead concerned only with protecting itself. An agency where a former high-ranking DCF supervisor stated to The Star she was not to document anything following a child’s death and to shred notes following meetings to keep them out of the hands of attorneys and reporters.
Even lawmakers insist DCF officials are deliberately confusing them and offering information the Legislature doesn’t have confidence in.
Kansas children continue to perish without a public review of which state social workers were with which families or whether they did enough, or whether policies and procedures were adhered to.
Dianne Keech, who served the DCF as a deputy director for two years says, “Secrecy is killing children.” said. Keech left the agency when she was told to shred notes following meetings about critical cases. She also stated she couldn’t execute a system-wide review of abuse and neglect cases. Administers supposedly said they didn’t want mistakes in writing.
In an investigation into the secrecy in the Kansas government and how it harms residents, it was found that an inescapable effort inside the DCF to hide behind privacy laws and internal procedures to keep info away from the public, especially when children are seriously injured or killed by parents and guardians known to the agency.
Over the course of the past year, the DCF has declined to answer questions on subjects ranging from open records and the death of certain children to foster care runaways.
Social workers in the field state they know how important image is to the DCF. Sarah Coats a social worker for one of Kansas’ top child welfare contractors for several years said she was fired when she tried to create a union and leaked data regarding high caseloads.
This must end.
Our foster homes and systems must be held accountable, especially when children’s lives are at stake. Silence is killing our nation’s children. On our Kathey and Rob Raskin Stop DHR webpage, you can report complaints. Please do, you can save lives.