A national study published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that child welfare in Kansas is slipping fast. The state dropped to 40th in infant mortality, and has the terrible distinction of being the worst in the country in terms of African-American infant mortality. 1 in 5 children are living in poverty in Kansas, the lowest level in seven years.
Clearly, something needs to be done to improve the well-being of Kansas’ children. But how did Republican Governor Sam Brownback respond? He is gutting the agency responsible for child protective services, child support enforcement and child, adult and family well being services, after a failed attempt to slash funding for Head Start.
The state was on track to close 9 [Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services centers], citing agency cost savings. Public outcry has prevented one of those closures. The City Council of Lawrence, Kansas has agreed to pick up the state’s tab and fund their own office to serve the most needy within their community.
Ironically enough, Brownback is still finding money to fund faith-based initiatives. This is despite the fact that pastors gathered to protest the proposed service center closings — apparently not the kind of interfaith cooperation that Brownback had in mind.
Reducing child poverty is one of Brownback’s “roadmap for Kansas,” but it should be apparent that cutting services for vulnerable children is not the way to lift children out of destitution. It’s hypocrisy that would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious, but sadly, this shows how much the “pro-life” governor values infants once they’ve left their mothers’ bodies. Apparently children are only worth protecting when they’re in the womb.
Photo from TheGiantVermin via flickr.