Sources: Washington Department of Social and Health Services; Washington Department of Enterprise Services (Reporting by Will Drabold / The Seattle Times; Graphic by Mark Nowlin / The Seattle Times)

Health Impact News Editor Comments

When it comes to Child Welfare and Child Protection Service (CPS) agencies across the U.S., the public is fed a very one-sided view that justifies these massive federal programs funded by American taxpayers. The view is that there are vast numbers of children being abused in their homes by their families that need rescuing by these CPS agencies. The failures of these agencies to themselves protect the children they take out of homes and put into foster care are brushed aside under the umbrella excuse that they are under-staffed with not enough funding to properly take care of all these supposedly abused children.

The truth, however, is far different than this picture being painted before the public. Studies clearly show that children left in their homes with their parents, even when they are left in troubled homes, are far better off than they would be in foster care away from their family. (See: Foster Care Children are Worse Off than Children in Troubled Homes.) Children in foster care are routinely abused physically and sexually, given psychotic drugs they would not normally be on if they had remained with their families, and far more likely to die before reaching adulthood.

When these failures of CPS agencies are discovered and prosecuted in court, resulting in settlements and payouts, the social workers seldom are held accountable, according to a new investigative report by Will Drabold of the Seattle Times.

When will people of good conscience finally say enough is enough, and take actions to put a stop to this?

DSHS employees rarely pay a price for failing to protect foster children

By Will Drabold
The Seattle Times


The state of Washington’s largest department is tasked with caring for the state’s most vulnerable residents — abused children, foster kids, mentally handicapped adults. But time and again, it has failed.

Over the past eight years, the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has been hit with scores of lawsuits, ultimately paying $166.4 million for personal-injury claims. Many of the most severely injured were children who were tortured, starved or raped. Some died.

DSHS employees behind these failures rarely are punished, The Seattle Times has found.

From those scores of lawsuits, the newspaper selected one dozen of the high-cost, child-welfare cases for which records were readily accessible. Many of these cases made headlines and resulted in verdicts or settlements ranging from $750,000 to $11 million, some $75 million in all.

Using court records, public records and interviews, the newspaper identified 48 DSHS staffers involved in the failures in these 12 cases.

None of the 48 was fired or suspended. None was demoted or lost pay.

Read the full story at The Seattle Times.