- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Abuse and neglect are the primary reasons children are being removed from their homes in Kansas, which is a change from the past, according to figures from the Department of Children and Families.

Children were taken from homes 59 percent of the time because of abuse and neglect during the current fiscal year, the agency said. Other issues, such as a child’s behavior problems, drug abuse, a parent being in prison or runaway children, accounted for the other 41 percent of the removals, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1H7qs1X ).

In the past, non-abuse and non-neglect causes were a majority or equal reason for removing children. In 2014, abuse and neglect accounted for 51 percent of removals, while non-abuse removals accounted for 51 percent of removals in 2013. The causes were equally matched in 2012. In 2009 and 2010, 55 percent of removals were for non-abuse reasons.

“I think we are trying to make a conscious effort to work with families in their home if it is not an actual safety issue, as related to specific abuse, to try to keep the family intact, and apparently that’s reflected in these numbers,” said Phyllis Gilmore, agency secretary.

In fiscal year 2014, Kansas received more than 65,000 reports of child abuse or neglect. The agency assigned 56 percent of those reports for further investigation and confirmed 1,400 cases of child abuse. More than 3,000 children were removed from their homes during that time period.

Reports of abuse and neglect have climbed 16.9 percent since 2010, though calls dropped slightly between 2013 and 2014.

Dianne Keach, DCF deputy director, said the increase is likely due more to increased awareness and education and not an increase in abuse.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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