Olathe mom waits months for benefits, questions how Kansas DCF office in JoCo operates

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:04 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - Casey Maschler is a single working mother. She contacted KCTV5 out of sheer frustration after a seven-month battle to get benefits for her son.

It started with phone calls. Her call logs document six- and eight-hour hold times.

“You will wait all day long. All day long,” said Maschler. “I put it on silent and gone to work on through my entire work schedule, come home, still been on hold. And then, ‘We’re no longer accepting callers. Goodbye!”

“You will wait all day long. All day long,” said Maschler.
“You will wait all day long. All day long,” said Maschler. (KCTV5 News)

Maschler eventually went in person to the DCF office location Johnson County. It took three tries before she realized the needed strategy: You need to get there by 6:30 a.m. even though doors open at 8 a.m.

“I had to go and take my son and stay the night at a friend’s house, so he could stay sleeping and I can jump out in the morning,” said Maschler.

KCTV5 went to the same DCF office and Maschler’s story was echoed by other families.

“If you don’t get here early, you won’t get to see nobody,” Dejania Staves said. “Calling in is, like, impossible.”

TJ Powell was first in line at 6:30. His wife waited on hold seven hours the previous day and was warned they needed to be at the office early to get a coveted spot.

“I just don’t understand, you know, why they only take 10 people a day,” said Powell.

KCTV5 reached out to DCF for comment but never heard back regarding what’s going on.

Families question if there is a staffing issue throughout DCF. Several families told us only 10 people are helped each day.

We asked the 11th person in line to connect with us and let us know if they received help. They didn’t. They called KCTV5 upset that they’d have to get up even earlier and make another trip back to the office.

Maschler compliments the people who work in the office who helped connect her with the benefits she needs for her son.

“It means food. It means daycare, being able to go to work for other people,” said Maschler. “It means being able to support themselves in a time when they can’t. I mean, it’s survival.”

She contacted KCTV5 worried about the other families she saw being turned away.

“You know, people leaving teary-eyed and I just I couldn’t imagine how many other people have the same story,” said Maschler. “How many other people are trying to get benefits and can’t? Somebody needs to talk about this. Figure out what the problem is and fix it so no one else is struggling like this. It’s just not right.”