14 September 2000

City - County To Provide Family Care


By Jon A. Brake

A new program for Manhattan and Riley County will have government taking raising the children. They will
provide all care from the time they are born until age eighteen.

This is the kind of program that Liberal City and County Commissioners can not say "no" to. It will cost us
millions but the State will give us $275,000, if we hurry.

The Riley County Health Department presented a proposal to the Riley County Commission Monday for a
Family and Child Resource Center.They would like to take over the Wharton Manor property when the residents
move to Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community next spring.

Charles Murphy, Administrator and Susanne Kufahl, Assistant Administrator told the Commission that the
"grant opportunity" is anticipated to be for $275,000 the first year. There are no guarentees the grant will be
available the following year. A 20% community match, half in cash is required and the grant request must be
turned in by October 16.

Here is what was said in a letter given to the Commission about the program:

"Development: Riley County’s donation of the Wharton Manor facility for the purpose of developing a Family
and Child Resource Center will be the springboard for the realization of this collaborative community initiative.
There are many unknowns that we will have to work through. Heating, cooling, plumbing and remodeling are
known renovation needs, however, the cost of renovation is not known."

This is what Manhattan needs. Parents produce the children, turn them over to government to raise. After
eighteen years of government baby-sitting, the children would be ready for the real world, the Riley County Jail.

 The health department is prepared to assume administrative responsibility for the facility. We believe that the
Center will have a stronger collaborative, community base if local government is committed in an ongoing
manner. For example, it may be appropriate for the city and county to share utility expenses.

The Board of Health, the Children, Youth and Families Executive Council, and the Manhattan DayCare Board
can help guide the development of the Center, ensuring a collaborative, community response to children’s needs.

Space: The entire building will likely be necessary to house the Family and Child Center if it is to also address
childcare. "Childcare" is anticipated to mean a training program for infant/toddler care. The Family Connections
program has a critical need for space and would be moved to the new facility. Other programs serving young
families would be housed there as well. An outreach plan would be developed for other geographic portions of the