DRW asks State to re-evaluate abuse and neglect response system

Susan Kas
Legal Advocacy Attorney

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), the Deparment of Health (DOH), and the Attorney General's office recently met with Disability Rights Washington (DRW) and representatives from People First of Washington, Self-Advocates of Washington, Self-Advocates in Leadership, the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment, and the Long Term Care Ombudsman. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to improve our state's system for responding to allegations of abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

DRW and the stakeholders recommended that DSHS and DOH work with consumers, other stakeholder groups, and an independent expert to gather information to form a study about how well our current system is working. The purpose of the study utlimately would be to propose ways the system could improve, with more resources, different strategies, better trainings, new policies, etc.

Everyone has agreed that there are several issues about our State's abuse and neglect response system that warrant further study and improvement.

In addition to continuing to work with the State to study and improve its abuse and neglect response system, DRW will continue to investigate abuse and neglect allegations when people with disabilities are the victims. DRW will report any new concerns to the State, regarding systemic issues relating to the State's response to allegations of abuse and neglect.

At this point, DRW is optimistic that State and stakeholder groups will work collaboratively to improve investigations and protective services for victims.

Freedom from abuse and neglect