washington dshs

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

As families of people with developmental disabilities in Washington struggle to get access to state-paid services, there’s a renewed push to link funding increases to growth in population.

Currently, nearly 14,000 people who meet the state’s criteria as developmentally disabled are not receiving services. They’re on what’s known as the no-paid services caseload.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In response to a rash of nursing home closures in Washington, a Republican state senator is calling for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates and other steps to stave off additional closures.

“We are in a crisis of skilled nursing facilities and beds,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, a Pierce County Republican.

Courtesy of MaryAnn Brookhart

MaryAnn Brookhart remembers the day in 1964 when her parents dropped off her 12-year-old brother, Gregory Paul, at the Rainier School for the developmentally disabled in Buckley. She was 17 and had insisted on riding with them.

Courtesy of Dawn Akerman

In recent months, court commissioners on both sides of the Cascades have found the state of Washington in contempt, and even imposed fines, over access to state psychiatric care for people with severe developmental disabilities.

Courtesy Tammie Corter

The state of Washington is canceling two more contracts with a troubled provider of in-home care to people with developmental disabilities in Spokane County.

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) announced the contract terminations Tuesday, the same day the state placed Aacres Washington LLC (Spokane) and Aacres Washington LLC (Spokane County #2) on provisional certification status “based on serious non-compliance with the law and regulations.”

A major provider of in-home care for developmentally disabled adults in Washington has announced it will cease operations in King County in the coming weeks because of a lack of affordable housing and challenges related to recruiting and retaining staff.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In the wake of three serious patient-on-staff assaults, more than 150 nurses at Washington's Western State Hospital have signed a "no-confidence" letter calling for the replacement of the psychiatric hospital's chief nursing officer Karen Pitman and her deputies. 

"We have lost all trust, faith, and confidence in the current Western State Hospital Nursing Administration to advocate for nursing," the letter read. 

The letter was delivered by email Friday to Dave Holt, Western State CEO and Cheryl Strange, Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services.

Courtesy of the Davis family

Five months after the state of Washington shut down a major provider of in-home care for the developmentally disabled, the company that took over care for most of the clients has been given 90 days to correct its practices or face decertification of its King County operation based on "serious non-compliance with the law and regulations." 

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

This story has been updated.

Despite a two year turnaround effort, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Monday that it will strip Washington’s Western State Hospital of federal certification for failing to comply with standards.

Courtesy of the Davis family

In an unprecedented move, the state of Washington is shutting down a major provider of in-home care for developmentally disabled adults in King, Spokane and Yakima counties because of repeated serious violations of care standards.

Lake Stevens Police Department

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit involving a 7-year-old girl named Cheyene who was rescued from a trash and feces-filled house in Lake Stevens in 2015.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Efforts to turnaround Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital are taking longer than expected. The federal government this week granted yet another extension to give the state’s largest mental hospital more time to fix systemic problems.

Washington DSHS

After a national search, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has tapped an insider to run the state’s largest agency. Western State Hospital CEO Cheryl Strange will take over as secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services in September.

Esmy Jimenez / Northwest Public Radio

Last year, developmentally disabled residents in Washington state institutions choked to death, were sexually assaulted and nearly drowned. That’s according to a report being released Wednesday by Disability Rights Washington.

For the second time in less than a year, the state of Washington has been sanctioned for failing to turn over evidence in a civil court case.

Phil Thomas / asylumprojects.org - tinyurl.com/j28ogdb

Former CEO of Washington’s Western State Hospital Ron Adler was publicly fired as head of the troubled state psychiatric hospital by Gov Jay Inslee earlier this year after the escape and recapture of two high-risk patients. But Adler continued working for the state.

Scott Matsuda / Red Fish Blue Fish Photography

On a gray, rainy afternoon a man walks into a library and shows a missing-person flyer to a librarian. It’s in a day’s work for a foster child “locator” whose job is to find kids who’ve run away.

On a Tuesday morning a pair of brothers cry in court and say goodbye to their mother as they are sent to juvenile detention for skipping school--a phenomenon in which Washington state leads the country.

With a coffee cup in her hand, a woman visits the jail where her brain-injured son has been held for 57 days, asking through a bulletproof window about his medication.

Phil Thomas / asylumprojects.org - tinyurl.com/j28ogdb

The state of Washington has struck a deal with the feds to keep Western State Hospital open and funded. The Department of Social and Health Services announced late Thursday that it will negotiate a Systems Improvement Agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The state of Washington is on a hiring spree for forensic psychologists. They’re needed to help address a backlog of mentally ill jail inmates whose competency to stand trial is in question.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The case of an infant who nearly died from severe abuse has captured the attention of Washington lawmakers. The child’s adoptive parents testified Tuesday in favor a proposed law named in their son’s honor.

s_falcow/Flickr

Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services now has a team of social workers whose sole job is to find foster youth who run away.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington is under court order to keep foster youth from running away. So the state now has a team of “locators”--social workers whose job it is to find runaways and bring them back.

Austin Jenkins/ Northwest News Network

Rural Thurston County, Washington, is the kind of place people move to for a little elbow room. But if you’re a teenager from the suburbs, life can be less than exciting.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The agency that oversees child welfare in Washington wants to hire nearly 100 more child protection workers.

The state of Washington has agreed to pay a record amount to settle a case of child abuse and neglect.

Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it’s illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds.

A judge in Bellingham Monday ordered the state of Washington to do more to locate foster children who run away.

fiscal.wa.gov

Imagine driving your personal car for work so much that your boss cuts you a $10,000 mileage reimbursement check. That’s what happened recently at Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services.

Fraud investigators in Washington state say they expect to announce a major case of public welfare theft next month.

Shawn Murphy / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A shipbuilding executive with no social work experience will head Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced that appointment and four other cabinet picks Thursday.

Inslee’s choice for DSHS Secretary is former Democratic State Senator Kevin Quigley. He’s far from an agency insider. In fact most recently he was a president with Vigor Industrial, a major shipbuilder. At one point Quigley ran the company’s Everett shipyard.