TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The head of the state’s child welfare system, which is shrouded in controversy, is retiring, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced Friday.
Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, 72, will retire from the agency Dec. 1, according to a s state news release. She has been secretary since 2012.
Gilmore received criticism last year after auditors found the Kansas foster care system was not meeting many federal requirements, including ones aimed at providing stability for children. The report was from a July 2016 audit that found DCF failed to ensure the safety of youth in foster care. Gilmore told legislators the department was working to resolve the issues and planned to boost social worker recruitment and training as well as change regulations to require background checks for everyone over the age of 10 in a foster care home.
Just this year, DCF received complaints after a report found that more than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas. Gilmore said that in many cases children seek out their biological families or other people with whom they have a relationship.
Gilmore is also named in a $25 million lawsuit after a child was killed and fed to pigs by his father and step mother in Kansas City, Kan.
Gilmore is the second longest serving social services secretary in state history, according to Brownback’s office.
“I am thankful for her devotion and wish her the very best in the next chapter of her life,” Brownback said.
The Governor’s Office said Gilmore will be taking this opportunity to spend more time with family, especially with her four grandchildren.
“When I was appointed as secretary of the agency, I made a commitment to serve Governor Sam Brownback on his vision for a brighter future for Kansas children and families,” said Gilmore. “I would like to thank Governor Brownback for giving me the opportunity to work tirelessly for the children and families of Kansas and to serve as a part of his Administration. It has truly been an honor and a privilege.”