TOPEKA, Kan. — A children’s shelter director will be the next leader of a troubled Kansas agency tasked with protecting youth from abuse and neglect.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer announced the appointment Wednesday of Gina Meier-Hummell of Lawrence to serve as secretary of the Department for Children and Families. She will be subject to Senate confirmation.

Meier-Hummel has been involved in Kansas’ social service system for decades and serves on a task force examining the foster care system. Before becoming the director of the Children’s Shelter in Lawrence, she served in positions within the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and DCF.

Gov. Sam Brownback had delegated the decision to Colyer. At a news conference announcing his pick, Colyer cited Meir-Hummell’s two decades of experience in the field.

“It is critical that the leader of DCF is not only a professional with a demonstrated passion for these issues, but also an individual who will challenge the status quo and demand excellence at every level of the agency’s work,” Colyer said. “Gina is that person.”

Meier-Hummel told reporters she intends to do what is right for the children and families of Kansas.

“My career has been dedicated to helping the most vulnerable citizens of our state and I am ready to bring that experience to DCF to ensure that we face all challenges head-on,” she said. “We must provide a voice for the children of our state and vigorously fight to guarantee them a fulfilling life full of love and the promise of a bright future.”

She said she plans to take an active role in the department, “making certain that policies are followed and our children’s health and safety is the top priority.”


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com