DCF service centers remain closed to public

Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard announced recently that DCF service centers will remain closed to the public until further notice. The offices have been closed since March 23.

“My first priority is the health and safety of both our clients and employees,” Howard said. “I am committed to implementing a reopening plan that ensures social distancing and other safety requirements set forward by Governor Kelly. We’ll reopen when we can ensure these requirements can be met.”

To help ensure clients have access to services, the agency has implemented a series of new public facing communication channels.

On April 29, the agency opened a virtual call center to answer client questions about agency assistance programs including cash, food and child care assistance. Kansans can call 1-888-369-4777 from anywhere in the state to speak with a DCF representative or connect with their local service center.

DCF also added a chat function to its public website. Visitors can use the chat to get basic information about programs and application processes. DCF encourages Kansans to visit www.dcf.ks.gov for information about programs and to apply for services. Paper applications also are available outside each DCF service center across the state. Completed applications can be left in drop boxes outside each service center.

Additionally, visitors to the DCF website can review guidance from the agency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/COVID19/Pages/default.aspx for all DCF program information.

If someone suspects abuse or neglect, they should call the KPRC at 1-800-922-5330. They also can report allegations online at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Pages/KIPS/KIPSWebIntake.aspx.

DCF encourages Kansans to monitor the agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest information about office access and services.

For more information on COVID-19 visit: www.covid.ks.gov.

Moran announces aid to hosptials

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on May 1 announced $400 million to Kansas hospitals from the Department of Health and Human Services delivered through the Provider Relief Fund established in the Phase III Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Hospitals across Kansas are hurting financially due to COVID-19, some because of the number of cases they are treating and others because they are having to cancel non-emergency procedures and surgeries to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Moran. “Our hospital and health care providers are on the frontline of this pandemic, and these grants will help provide them with resources to continue fighting COVID-19 and keep their doors open to help patients when this crisis has passed.”

The first grant is for $18 million that will be distributed to a high-impact hospital in Kansas that has treated a large number of COVID-19 cases. The additional $382 million will be distributed among 201 rural health care providers that are affected by COVID-19.

Lottery continues remote operations into May

TOPEKA — On April 30, Gov. Laura Kelly announced she would lift the state’s stay-at-home order beginning May 4 and issue an executive order beginning Phase One of the “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas.” Because Phase One strongly encourages employees to telework if possible, state employees will continue to work remotely if they are able. The Kansas Lottery lobby will remain closed to the public during Phase One. The Kansas Lottery will continue to process mail-in claims, hold drawings, and ship tickets to retailers if they choose to continue selling during this time.

All multi-state draw games will continue and all drawings will be held. This includes Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto America, Lucky for Life and 2by2. Kansas-only draw games will also continue to operate. This includes Super Kansas Cash, Pick 3, Racetrax and Keno.

The Kansas Lottery is committed to supporting its retailers throughout this process and will continue providing shipments of instant tickets to retailers that choose to continue selling during this time. The Lottery encourages retailers to implement additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of their staff and players during the COVID-19 pandemic. These steps may include providing gloves and hand sanitizers to staff, as well as accepting credit or debit cards for transactions rather than cash for the foreseeable future. However, retailers are not required to continue selling tickets if the retailer thinks it is necessary to stop selling lottery tickets for health and safety reasons. Each individual retailer must decide how they would like to proceed during these unprecedented circumstances.

Any prize of $600 or higher must go through a Lottery Headquarters claims process. The in-person claims process continues to be on hold until further notice. As such, the Lottery is asking players to continue using the mail-in claims process to claim prizes of $600 or higher.

Mail-in claims will be processed in the order they are received. For tickets that may expire March 23 through May 18, 2020, an extension will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Contact lottery.info@kslottery.net if this applies to your prize.

Survey to evaluate shopping practices

MANHATTAN — The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s state trademark program From the Land of Kansas has released a public survey asking consumers about their shopping practices and preferences.

Recent events have reminded all of us about the importance of local foods. This survey is seeking feedback from Kansas consumers on what they are looking for and how we can help them find local foods. The survey, which takes less than five minutes to complete, will inform the program’s efforts to better promote and celebrate agricultural experiences and products grown, raised or produced in the state of Kansas.

Participants who complete the survey will be entered in a gift basket drawing. The gift baskets contain a variety of Kansas grown or made products, valuing over $100. Three winners will be selected and notified in early June via the contact information they provide at the end of the survey.

Any Kansas resident is eligible and encouraged to take the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/KS-consumers.

From the Land of Kansas offers an array of incentives to Kansas companies who grow, raise or produce products in the state. For questions about the survey, please contact Janelle Dobbins, marketing manager of the From the Land of Kansas program, at 785-564-6759 or Janelle.Dobbins@ks.gov.