Shelter director to be next head of child welfare agency

TOPEKA (KSN Capitol Bureau)  — The Department for Children and Families is expected to see changes as a new secretary is set to take over.

The change in leadership comes as DCF faces scrutiny for a lack of transparency.

Lt. Governor Jeff Coyler appointed Gina Meier-Hummel as the new Secretary of DCF Wednesday.

“We will be proactive and we will take steps to solve problems that exist,” Meier-Hummel said during a news conference.

Meier-Hummel replaces outgoing secretary Phyllis Gilmore who announced her retirement earlier this month.

“The issues that have been brought to light over the last 20 years are troubling,” said Lt. Gov. Jeff Coyler.

The department has been in the spotlight recently after more than 70 foster children were found to be missing from the foster care system, and allegations the agency didn’t do enough for children victims who were already the system.

“The reality is unfortunately things happen to kids so the biggest thing we can do is work to prevent that from happening in the first place,” explained Meier-Hummel.

Some of Meier-Hummel priorities include; being more transparent, conducting a top to bottom review of the entire department, and staffing changes.

“We’ll be looking at what has happened in the past and take corrective action where warranted,” she said.

Republican State Representative Dan Hawkins of Wichita, told reporters he thinks a change in leadership will make a difference.

“I really believe she is the right person at the right time to make these changes,” he said.

Meier-Hummel’s appointment still needs approval from a Senate Committee, but she is expected to start December 1st.

Before being appointed to this postion, Meier-Hummel served as the executive director of the nonprofit The Shelter Inc.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story

 

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