WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ newly-confirmed secretary for children and families improperly reversed an adoption decision for three children in foster care, a judge said.
DCF Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel recently said the children should go to their grandfather instead of being adopted by their foster family like originally decided.
Meier-Hummel’s decision “potentially placed all three children in serious harm,” according to Sedgwick County Judge Kevin Smith. He said he considered all necessary factors in selecting the foster parents to adopt and that the children should remain with them while continuing visits with their grandfather.
“Our intent was to ask for a 30-day continuance to do our due diligence, given the serious concerns raised by the grandfather about his grandchildren’s future,” Meier-Hummel said. “The court has the authority to make decisions in the children’s best interest, and we respect that authority.”
Smith’s rebuke came during a review hearing about David Rose Sr.’s grandchildren. Rose has sought for two years to adopt the children, and believes he wasn’t chosen because he’s a single black man living in a fourplex while the foster family is a married white couple in the suburbs.
“There’s one person whose bond has never been disrupted, and that’s my client,” said Jennifer Goheen, who stood in for Rose’s attorney who was unavailable.
Smith said the biggest reason for not choosing Rose was the possible involvement of the children’s biological parents, who he said had previously engaged in instances of physical neglect and abandonment.
Smith said he expects Meier-Hummel to attend a hearing about the adoption next month.