Washington State Governor Jay Inslee wants to “provide universal home visiting and universal newborn assessments to all families in Washington.”
To commence three weeks following the arrival of your newborn baby.
The startup costs are estimated at $43M.
That is the exact amount the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) paid out in settlements in 2018 across all departments.
Now, we are learning today, according to a report in The Seattle Times by Asia Fields, that this current fiscal year the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) – a reformatted version of DSHS – forked over nearly twice that amount, paying victims of their ineptitude a whopping $84 million.
From just this one department alone.
In just one year.
Soon we’ll be talking real money and those expenditures were not for day-to-day operations.
Over $100M in two years is for day-after-day failures.
And the 2020 Legislature, which convenes January 13, will attempt – yet again – based on Gov. Inslee’s Commission recommendations, to reformat – yet again – the very departments that aren’t doing their job now: protecting children.
Such legislation has been introduced multiple times by the Legislature.
Legislation did not pass when last introduced in 2005 and 2006.
However, during the 2016 legislative session, the Governor – again – floated this ship-of-an-idea to create a new department.
And the Governor appointed a 16-member crew to sail (sell) this ship-of-an-idea to the public.
But did this so-called Blue-Ribbon Commission do their due diligence to figure out how this proposed new agency would get to where it wanted to go?
No, it did not.
The Commission admitted it “did not have enough time to analyze specific programmatic approaches to achieving the vision of the new agency.”
Did this Commission examine the track record of child protective organizations who are supposedly organized to protect children?
No, it did not.
In fact, the 16 experts crewing this rather derelict vessel further admitted that they “did not conduct an in-depth analysis of performance of those agencies currently providing child, youth and family services to develop its recommendations.”
And yet the Blue-Ribbon Commission had the audacity, in its 75 pages, to write, “making large, structural changes to state government requires careful planning.”
And to think we were appalled – rightly so – at the $1.7 paid by DCYF in May of this year to a woman severely abused as a child.
The same attorney, Michael Pfau, who defended successfully the plaintiff in that case, has now won an $8.5M judgment against DCYF for what he calls their “cascade of mistakes” by multiple state employees who abysmally failed two girls the agency had placed with a sexually abusive foster parent.
Pfau has hope they’ll get it right.
“What I would like to see is a stronger statement that because of how poorly they handled this case, they will use this to make policy changes.”
A stronger statement?
Child protective services should say it all.
A promised new-and-improved state agency to follow birth announcements with a knock at your door shouldn’t be one of them.
Scuttle this ship.
Return to port.
Do not pass Universal Visitation.
That seems to be the reaction of 18,000 folks – and counting, averaging one every 40 seconds over the last five days – having responded to the first salvo fired across the bow.
Not just no.