Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) experienced many Human Services policy changes in the last two decades of the century, adding coverage and creating employment opportunities in many public service fields.
The 1990s saw several innovations such as:
- Family preservation services were widened in 1992, providing funding for family services, such as promoting family unity, parenting, and child protection.
- The Mental Health Reform Act of 1990 provided resources for the Community Mental Health Centers to establish conditions for more acceptable people’s living conditions.
- In 1991 the Community Integration Project established a way for people to move from mental hospitals to ordinary living situations, with involvement with family and friends in a natural setting.
- A plan to reform the disability system began in 1991, creating changes in the funding, the size of institutions and the Home and Community-Based Services waivers. The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1995 made Community Developmental Disability Organizations a more person-oriented basis for the planning process, and the function of licensing community service providers.
- In 1994 the Kansas Sex Predator Treatment Program (a sexual predator bill) passed, establishing local minimally-acceptable assistance for re-integration of persons completing their incarcerations. The bill was challenged several times, which helped to create standards for the treatment of sexual predators.
- Welfare reform came under scrutiny in 1994, looking at welfare thresholds and reporting.
- In the mid-1990s, SRS began dealing with not-for-profit agencies for the provision of foster care services, channeling its staff to investigate child abuse, foster care, and adoptions services.
- In 1997, benefits became accessible with the use of a debit-like card (the Vision Card), eliminating the use of coupons and the stigma attached.
The decade of the 2000s brought us:
- In 2003, SRS consolidated the regions from eleven to six, following the recommendations of the Budget Efficiency Savings Teams (BEST), and thereby optimizing operating expenses and services.
- SRS regions began locating staff such that client needs could be approached in a more collective way, helping families become self sufficient.
- In 2005 The Kansas Health Policy Authority was made the agency responsible for state health policy agenda, incorporating purchasing and administration, including managing the Medicaid State Children’s Health Insurance Program and MediKan. SRS retained responsibility for Medicaid administration of home and community services, along with substance abuse services.
- In July, 2007, the Mental Health Prepaid Ambulatory Health Plan began operations to improve accountability, operation, and efficiency of the public mental health care system, utilizing the services of Kansas Health Solutions.
- The Value Options organization was contracted by SRS to manage substance abuse services.
- In 2007, Kansas Child Support Enforcement completed a statewide call center in Halstead, Kansas, to provide trained service people to answer inquiries, freeing SRS personnel to concentrate on missing parents, paternity questions, and dealing with the establishment and enforcement of support orders.
- In January 2008, SRS established services for autistic children – 25 in the first year and 29 more in 2009.
SRS has been aware of its changing operating environment. Shifting demographics, a volatile social services community, dwindling resources, and staff attrition caused the agency to consider options for meeting future needs. To help in the efforts of both governmental and private groups, individuals can volunteer for these organizations, talk with legislators in their area or go as far as get a human services degree to both understand the issues fully and pursue a career in this area