Saint Francis Community Services to take 30,000 square feet at the former Office This

WICHITA — Saint Francis Community Services, which is taking over child welfare services previously provided by Youthville, is going to occupy 31,000 square feet at the former Office This.

The organization currently operates in about 4,000 square feet on North Amidon.

“We have to significantly expand that space,” says John Hoskins, vice president of marketing for the Salina-based group.

Saint Francis will occupy space that technically was part of the Office This development at 4031 E. Harry but wasn’t in the main area that was rented for office and conference space.

Developer Max Cole has closed that space in anticipation of a new tenant that will take as much as 100,000 square feet, though the deal isn’t done. The Saint Francis deal is separate from that.

In 1996, Kansas privatized management of its child welfare system that handles foster care, adoption services, residential treatment facilities and family preservation services.

There are five groups that bid on contracts to handle those services every four years.

Saint Francis won work for the next four years in two regions, including the Wichita region which is comprised of Wichita and almost a dozen surrounding counties.

“For the longest time, Youthville had the contract in Wichita,” Hoskins says.

Youthville will still provide some foster services, but Saint Francis will handle the bulk of the work.

“We’ll provide case management in terms of kids who come into the foster care system,” Hoskins says. “All of that will happen for that region out of that Wichita office.”

Currently, Saint Francis employs 30 people in the Wichita area.

“We will be going to 230 people,” Hoskins says. “We’ve been in the interviewing and hiring process. My understanding is we’re getting really close on all of those.”

Saint Francis will begin the new contract and move into its new space on July 1.