Rep. Jarrod Ousley speaking at a legislative session earlier this year.Rep. Jarrod Ousley of Merriam added his name to a letter calling for a legislative audit of the Kansas Department of Children and Family Services sent out last week. The letter says “the specter of alleged wrongdoing by the Department of Children and Families now clouds cases which are already difficult enough.”Ousley also attended a meeting of the Legislative Post Audit Committee last week where the committee did not immediately approve of an audit, but created a subcommittee to develop an audit proposal. “We’ve got children’s safety as risk,” Ousley said, expressing his disappointment with the delay.The letter was signed by a number of attorneys who act as Guardians Ad Litem appointed to advocate for the best interests of the children. Privacy protections prevent anyone from bringing evidence of wrongdoing, the letter contends. “Absent protections … a legislative audit or investigation remains the only means by which a completely closed system may be transparent to the public.”“Heaven forbid something happens to a child between now and then,” Ousley said of the delay in the audit. “(There is) potential they have dropped the ball and we are not going to know without an audit.”“In recent days, concerns which have long been held by attorneys and personnel who work within this system have been brought to light,” the letter reads.The department has come under scrutiny for allegations of discrimination against same-sex couples, the privatized child support system and the safety of children in foster care. Gov. Sam Brownback also has called for an examination of the foster care and adoption system.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 In a statement released by his club, Momota vowed to come back strong, so he could repay those who wished him well following the accident.“Thanks so much to the many people who offered encouragement. Although I will be recuperating, for the time being, I want to repay my debt of gratitude to those who wished me well by earnestly recovering physically and mentally, and competing in a lively fashion as soon as I can,” he said.Momota has not announced a date for his return to competition, but he is considered a lock to compete in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The Nippon Badminton Association has indicated Momota is aiming to compete at March’s All England Open in Birmingham.The player was headed to Kuala Lumpur International Airport Monday morning after winning the Malaysia Masters men’s singles title on Sunday when the van he was riding in collided with a 30-ton truck. The driver of the van was killed.Momota, who missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics due to a suspension for illegal gambling, won 11 international meets last year and is hoping to become Japan’s first Olympic badminton gold medalist in men’s singles at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. KEYWORDS RELATED PHOTOS Kento Momota, the world’s top-ranked men’s badminton player, was discharged from a Tokyo hospital on Friday, four days after he was injured in a car crash in Malaysia.Other than three facial lacerations and bruising all over his body that had been diagnosed in Malaysia following the fatal accident early Monday morning, Momota’s examination in Tokyo revealed no other injuries. Kento Momota was discharged from a Tokyo hospital, where injuries he suffered during a traffic accident in Malaysia on Monday were examined, on Friday. | KYODO GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES badminton, Kento Momota
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli 1 Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told striker Mario Balotelli he must step up his efforts in training, or risk not being picked for the Reds first-team.The £16million summer signing did not make the 18-man matchday squad for saturday’s goalless FA Cup fourth round draw at home to Bolton, despite being fit after recovering from illness.Balotelli has struggled to settle since arriving at Anfield and hasn’t started a game since the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea in November.And Rodgers said he spent an hour on Friday telling the Italy international exactly what he had to do in order to be considered.“I am judging it every day in training – Mario is exactly the same as every other player, there is no special treatment for anyone,” said the Reds boss.“Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert are working tirelessly in training and when they go on they have contributed and young Jordan Rossiter, on the bench today, has been brilliant in training and I have to judge it on that.“If you want to contribute you have to be at it every single day in training in order to be in the squad on match day.“We had an hour or so yesterday chatting and he understands where he is at.“He knows exactly what is required to be in this squad before he can be in the team.“It is difficult for him but he knows the level of what this team is at – you see the aggression in our pressing and if you can’t do that you are not going to be a part of what this team is trying to achieve.“He was fully understanding. He saw the level of performance against Chelsea [in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup] and in fairness to him he actually said it would be a struggle for him in terms of how he would play the game because he is a box player really.“But there is much more asked of this team and he saw it clearly on the field the other night. I am confident he will respond well.”First choice striker, Daniel Sturridge, returns to training tomorrow having not featured for the Reds since August 31 because of a thigh injury, and Rodgers added the England man could make the squad for the League Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea on Tuesday.“Now it is just about getting that condition with football fitness and game fitness,” said Rodgers.“We will see how he is for Tuesday but if he is not ready for Tuesday he will be back for sure against West Ham next weekend.”