TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Senate has unanimously confirmed Gina Meier-Hummel as the state’s secretary for children and families.

The action Wednesday showed that legislators upset with problems at the Department for Children and Families have confidence in Meier-Hummel. Several senators told her during a confirmation hearing last week that she already has made improvements since becoming acting secretary in December.

The 49-year-old Meier-Hummel was executive director for a nonprofit Lawrence children’s shelter before becoming acting secretary.

She replaced former Secretary Phyllis Gilmore.

Gilmore retired with the department facing intense scrutiny, partly over the deaths of several children in abusive homes.

One case involved a 3-year-old Wichita boy whose body was found last year encased in concrete. Records show that the state received at least eight reports the boy was being abused.