Kansas Children’s Service League held an open house on Thursday to celebrate 125 years of service to families and children around the country, and right here in Great Bend and the surrounding communities.
“We are excited about turning 125 today,” Healthy Families Director Kelly Hayes said during the ceremony at the KCSL Healthy Families office, located at 3520 Lakin Ave., Suite 107. “There are not a lot of non-profit agencies that have been around this long.”
KCSL has been offering services to children and families for the all these years. Over that time, KCSL has grown into what it is today.
“Our early roots was adoption in Kansas; today we have a lot of community-based programs. Each community is different so we adapt to these changes.” Hayes said. “Today we work with families and provide them with knowledge with parenting.”
Offered programs in Great Bend
KCSL offers plenty of services for families and children. Among them is the Healthy Families program.
Healthy Families is a free, reliable support to strengthen families and assist parents who are overburdened by stress factors, Hayes said. A Healthy Families home visitor will meet with a participating family regularly, usually once each week. This process begins during pregnancy and continues until the child is 3 to 5 years old.
Another program KCSL offers is the Child Abuse Prevention program. As the state chapter for Prevent Child Abuse America, KCSL coordinates the work of the organization in Kansas to build awareness, provide education, organize activities and lead advocacy efforts to prevent the abuse and neglect of children.
A newer program that KCSL offers is mental health services for children and their families through the Outpatient Mental Health program located in its Wichita office at 1365 N Custer. Outpatient Mental Health provides short-term therapy for children and families. Targeted Early Childhood Mental Health Services are also available.
This is just a few of the programs that KCSL offers. For more information call the Great Bend office, 620-603-8442.
According to KCSL, in the 1990s, states nationwide began to look at managed care and privatization as a better way to deliver and fund services. In 1996, Kansas became the first state extensively to privatize services provided by the former Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, now known as the Department for Children and Families. Since that time, KCSL has worked with DCF to meet the needs of children in the state’s care in a variety of ways.
Currently, KCSL is the statewide contractor for the Adopt Kansas Kids website, a resource for finding families for children in the child welfare system who are available for adoption. In addition, KCSL provides resource family homes, focusing on children with higher levels of need.
KCSL offers programs that strengthen families, prevent child abuse and neglect, and interventions that prevent children coming into foster care. In recent years, KCSL has also expanded its mental health services, reintroduced its infant adoption program and reclaimed its position as a leading advocate on behalf of Kansas’ vulnerable children and families.