Friday, November 7, 2008

The Legislature Has A Responsibility To The Public In Reigning in DSHS

With the consent of Senate Leadership, a committee chair can actually use subpoena power to hold senate investigative hearings. In the case of CPS and its repetitive egregious "mishaps"...the committee chair should consider such hearings.

The legislature needs to fully grasp what is happening and not happening in this huge and powerful monolith. It is too big. There are no checks and balances. And, they work in secrecy.

This year, as a consequence of my sharing the experience of Lisa with the family, I will be introducing legislation to open up government in the area of DSHS.

I believe the agency is too big and should be divided to allow for more accountability within its own workings.

I will be proposing the creation of a "transparency board" made up of legislators and the public. The board would review cases and make recommended policy changes to the department and to the legislature.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag did a performance audit and found many things that needed to be addressed. The transparency board would watch dog DSHS to see if they are willing and in the process of making the institutional changes necessary to provide better service.

I have always thought it would be good for government to give out "satisfaction" surveys to users (citizens and taxpayers). Fat chance of that when it is so much easier just to ignore criticism and go after your critics.

If ever there was a need for a bipartisan effort...it is in fixing DSHS.

5 comments:

CC Tillett said...

Dear Senator Roach,


"With the consent of Senate
Leadership, a committee chair can actually use subpoena power to hold senate investigative hearings. In the case of CPS and its repetitive egregious "mishaps"...the committee chair should consider such hearings."

If anyone can do this..you can!

You will have much support in this endeavor.

I hope you will keep us all informed, as the new legislative session will soon be upon us.

Expect " Bus Loads" of supporters.

Respectfully,

CC Tillett

Anonymous said...

With all you have brought to light, do you have any support in Olympia? Is there anyone else there who has seen, or is dealing with this in their District? Or are they to afraid to do the right thing as you are doing? Keep up the good work, glad you serve our State, you appear to be the only one who is!!!

Anonymous said...

Pam, You have a great idea. But do you think you will get the support needed in Olympia? We are grandparents fighting to get our grandaughter back home. It is both sad and scary of what happens in the court system. DSHS and the CASA get together and fabricate their story to tell the judge KNOWING that the grandparents will not be allowed to defend themselves. In Washington the courts say grandparents have no rights. But on the other hand, the law states family first! So who are grandparents? We're not considered family in the courts eyes. Especially if you've raised that child since birth. Instead they place the child in foster care with total strangers.(when the grandparents have done nothing wrong) Now all the sudden the child starts having emotional problems. Geeee! that's a suprise. For the life of me I cannot understand how the courts feel that is in the best intrest of the child! Pam, my wife and I would love to stand in front of the legislative committee and let them hear what has happened to our family. Laws need to be changed and we will do everything we can to change them. We would also like to see a board overlooking DSHS. In fact we would love to be on that board! Somebody needs to be held accountable for what they have done to our family and many others out there. And to the ethics committee, you are investigating the wrong person! you should be investigating DSHS!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pam,
One of the first things I discovered in researching CPS process is the written laws brought in by the legislators had serious conflicts between CPS and community interests. They have the power they have because of the implemented laws. I believe that most legislators listen to CPS who suggest ways to write the laws and have their "reasons" why things should be worded a certain way. The legislators aren't listening to the people. I encountered this last year while fighting to change SB 6306. Now SB 6306 is working against grandparents as I predicted.
Here is the problem. There are many RCWs that start out sounding fair and equitable in support of family THEN one statement, usually towards the end of the paragraph, takes away all the power of the People and gives it back to the State. Statements like, "if appropriate" or "at the discretion of the department" and many other "disclaimers" that are then used at the case manager levels to substantiate their power and authority to make decisions. The reasons for the decisions may or may not be true, but lying in court has no recourse to the CPS worker. Legislation needs to be enacted that holds the department accountable for false allegations and doctored paperwork.
I can understand what reasons may be used for the disclaimers, but the disclaimers only work within an ethical system. They do not deserve the power they have and it is clear there is a lack of maturity and the ability to manage emotions, are frequently judgmental, feel they are above the law and that is supported by the judicial system who provides no accountability for any of it.
Senator, the disclaimers need to be removed until the ethics are straightened out. Just moving departments around but keeping the laws the same will change nothing. That is my opinion for what it is worth.
Thanks, Jan Smith, Washington State Extended Families

Paige Roberts said...

I agree with Jan. The immunity is what needs to be stricken out of these laws. The immunity gives them fuel to do whatever they want and get a way with it. I also agree that the ethical conduct needs to be re-written for our children's sake. However, there are laws in place that the workers are to abide by and this is not happening. They need to be held accountable for their wrongdoings. I liked your post Jan, thanks.
Ps. Until we start standing up as one in this plight nothing will ever change. Now that new legislators are in their seats, now would be the time to act.