TOPEKA, Kan. — The acting secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families says allegations that the agency discriminates against gay and lesbian couples are concerning, and she pledged a “zero tolerance” policy.
The Wichita Eagle reports that Gina Meier-Hummel on Friday made a sharp break from her predecessor, Phyllis Gilmore, who dismissed allegations of discrimination against same-sex couples in adoption and foster care cases.
State auditors released a survey of attorneys who deal with the child welfare system. About 35 percent said gay and lesbian parents are not treated the same as other parents.
Meier-Hummel told a legislative committee reviewing the survey that she will have “zero tolerance for any violation of the law.”
DCF came under scrutiny in 2015 amid multiple allegations that it discriminated against same-sex couples. A Johnson County judge in a sealed 2013 court order wrote that DCF showed more concern about sexual orientation than the best interest of a child.
The agency disagreed, but Gilmore said at the time that the “preferred (situation) is every child to have a mom and a dad” if possible.
Meier-Hummel became acting secretary Dec. 1, when Gilmore retired. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is expected to become governor if Gov. Sam Brownback leaves for a diplomatic post, made the selection.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com