is archive

Coming Into the Light: An Examination of Restraint and Isolation Practices in Washington Schools

In 2018 DRW began monitoring the use of isolation and restraint in schools across Washington state. Seeing disparity and overuse, in 2019, DRW and the ACLU-WA began collaborating on this report. DRW conducted over 140 interviews with students, teachers, principals, parents and other school personnel, reviewed school documents, research, state laws, and did an extensive data analysis of Washington data. Report findings show that restraint and isolation have no educational or therapeutic benefits but have profound disabling effects and result in lifelong harm, especially for students with disabilities who are low-income, live in foster care or are homeless, are Black or multiracial, and are in Kindergarten or elementary school. Read more here.

Let Us Come Home

October 2018
Disability Rights Washington (DRW) has completed an investigation of Clarinda Academy, one of the many out-of-state institutions where Washington State has been sending foster youth with behavioral health needs. This investigation report discusses allegations by youth that they are subjected to verbal abuse and inappropriate/excessive physical restraints by staff.

Websites that Welcome Voters

August 2016
Many people with disabilities face barriers to voting. As a result, there is a disproportionately low turnout of Americans with disabilities in elections. Between May and July of 2016, Disability Rights Washington surveyed the elections websites of all 39 counties in Washington to screen basic accessibility of online voter information across the state. “Websites that Welcome Voters: Creating a Disability Friendly Website” is a summary of what we found, and our recommendations for improvements.

Hours that Count

November 2014
Disability Rights Washington monitored 14 employment vendors and met with multiple individuals who receive supported employment during summer 2014. Findings from this revealed many participants of Washington’s employment programs for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities still live largely isolated lives, work in segregated environments and receive little assistance to advance to integrated or viable employment. This is compiled in the report “Hours that Count: Making Employment Supports Work for Washingtonians with Developmental Disabilities”.

Empowering Choice

November 2013
“Empowering Choice: from Pizza to Politics” report discusses Disability Rights Washington’s observations of everyday ways in which Supported Living providers can either facilitate or hamper people’s abilities to wholly engage in community life as equal society members, as articulated in the Residential Guidelines. Disability Rights Washington identified examples in three areas of decision-making and community engagement where people with disabilities participating in Supported Living programs can be supported to increase their political enfranchisement.

Too Little Too Late

November 2012
“Too Little Too Late: A call to end tolerance of abuse and neglect” documents the observations of Disability Rights Washington, Columbia Legal Services, and two nationally-recognized abuse and neglect response experts. Washington must stop ignoring the safety of the vulnerable citizens participating in the state’s Supporting Living program.

Devaluing People with Disabilities

May 2012
The thought of doctors and parents, together, deciding to remove the body parts and stunt the growth of a child based on assumptions about their awareness and quality of life is shocking and disgusting. That it is happening to those unable to use their own voice is even worse. The National Disability Rights Network—in an effort to shed some light on this barbaric practice and thrust the medical community that supports it into the 21st century—has released this report called Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights.

Improving Washington’s Response to Abuse and Neglect

April 2008
Washington’s system for responding to abuse and neglect of adults is currently failing to provide the protection that adults with disabilities need in order to live safely and with dignity. This report describes how the effectiveness of investigations is compromised by poorly conducted investigations, low substantiation rates, and lack of adequate policies and resources. This report also discusses other related issues including assessment of allegations, enforcement of mandatory reporting statutes, and the protection of alleged victims of abuse during ongoing investigations.

Investigative Report Regarding the “Ashley Treatment”

May 2007
Investigative Report Regarding the “Ashley Treatment” report finds that Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, as a result of a communication breakdown, violated Washington state law in performing the hysterectomy portion of the “Ashley Treatment” on a 6-year old with a developmental disability without a court order authorizing the procedure.