DCF official outlines agency’s new clearer focus

October 22, 2014 by

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With responsibility for a region that sprawls from Emporia west to Goodland and from the Nebraska state line south to the Oklahoma state line, Randy Lind doesn’t usually have a chance to spend much time in the communities he’s serving as a community relations director.

But on Wednesday, he came to Concordia to talk about the Kansas Department for Children and Families, and to answer questions for the 40 or so people attending the Community Needs Forum “working lunch” at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

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Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph who host the events, noted that Wednesday was the 27th gathering of the Needs Forum, which began in 2009 as a way to identify what participants see as the greatest needs in the community and to allow participants to have a better understanding of services available.

That was Lind’s goal Wednesday as he presented an overview of the services offered by DCF and highlighted a few individual programs.

Two years after what was touted as a “historic reorganization,” the new DCF may not be fully understood by the Kansans it serves, Lind said. He cited the agency’s mission statement — “To protect children, promote healthy families and encourage personal responsibility” — as testament to the clearer focus all DCF programs now have.

As part of the restructuring, the new DCF was divided into four regions, with each serving roughly one fourth of Kansans. For Lind, who is community relations director for the West Region based in Hutchinson, that means serving the 65 mostly-rural counties outside of Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita.

Lind outlined numerous DCF programs, including Prevention and Protective Services, Child Support Services, Economic and Employment Services, Rehabilitation Services and faith-based and community initiatives.

But, he said, he has a special soft spot for DCF’s adoption and foster care programs, where he spent the majority of his 29-year career with the agency.

“These kids need a home, and the state is a lousy parent,” he said of the 400 Kansas children now available for adoption. “We don’t want to have kids waiting for a home; we want to have homes waiting for a kid.”

As a part of that effort, DCF is partnering with the Christian ministry “Focus on the Family” to host a Wait No More event in Kansas City on Nov. 1. With participation from both Kansas and Missouri, the event will have guest speakers and information addressing the need for adoption and the impact it makes on the lives of children. (More information is available at http://icareaboutorphans.org/kansas/)

Also as part of Wednesday’s lunch, Sister Jean Rosemarynoski and Police Chief Bruce Johnson called for volunteers to take part in a “grassroots committee” to look at the problem of domestic violence in Concordia.

“It’s a community problem, and we need a community solition to address it,” Johnson said.

Anyone interested in finding solutions is encouraged to contact Sister Jean at 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org.

Other reports featured a variety of upcoming events, including:

  • The Oct. 28 free evening workshop titled “Serving on a Nonprofit Board.” Sponsored by the Community Foundation for Cloud County and the Sisters of St. Joseph, this session at the Nazareth Motherhouse is designed for directors of civic groups, church boards, charities and other nonprofit organizations and is presented by John W. Mize, author of “The Eight Principles of Effective Governance: A Handbook for Directors of Nonprofit Organizations.” Participants are urged to register in advance to receive a copy of the book. To register, contact Sister Jean at 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org.
  • Pastor Jeff Nielsen announced that the Christian Church, at 6th and Cedar streets in Concordia, will host a free weekly supper each Wednesday evening beginning Nov. 5. Suppers are set for Nov. 12, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.
  • Neighbor to Neighbor will hold its annual Holiday Boutique & Bake Sale Nov. 15. It will be at the downtown center, 103 E. Sixth St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All proceeds go to the artists and craftswomen at Neighbor to Neighbor.
  •  The Sisters of St. Joseph will again host Christmas Tree Lane Friday, Dec. 5. This annual event benefits nonprofit organizations in the Concordia area, and all proceeds go directly to the 15 charities that decorate Christmas trees to be auctioned off at the evening ticket-only event. But this year there is a change: On Thursday, Dec. 4, the sisters will host a “preview party” as part of their annual Holiday Open House. That free event — from 5 to 8 p.m. — will include musical entertainment, refreshments and a chance to vote for the “People’s Choice” among the 15 decorated trees.

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