Target: Robin Arnold-Williams, Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services
Goal: Protect foster children by monitoring care providers more closely.
A recent Washington State audit discovered eleven sex offenders who were living in foster homes. While foster care providers are subjected to criminal background checks, other adult residents in the homes go unmonitored. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) needs to routinely inspect foster homes to identify safety threats.
At any given moment, almost ten thousand children in Washington are in foster care. Many of these children have already faced abuse at home as physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect are some of the most common reasons for placement in foster care. The unfortunate reality is that children are 10% more likely to experience abuse by foster care providers than by their original guardians. In other words, placement in these homes takes them out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Every child deserves to feel safe in her own home. To deny this basic need places children on a developmental pathway to various physical, mental, and behavioral issues, decreasing their chances of a healthy and successful life. It is unacceptable that sex offenders have been found living in foster homes. Ask DSHS Secretary Robin Arnold-Williams to implement regular unannounced visits for all foster care providers in order to identify risks to child safety.
Dear Secretary Arnold-Williams,
The recent discovery of eleven registered sex offenders living in Washington foster care homes is a clear indication that a change must be made. While it is currently required that foster care providers submit to background checks, your organization has no method of monitoring other adults that live in these homes.
It is estimated that foster children are 10% more likely to be abused by their care providers. While every child deserves protection from abuse, foster care children are especially vulnerable. Many of them have already been victims, and their disrupted family lives leave them with poor foundations of support and coping strategies. We must take greater responsibility for the welfare of these at-risk youth. Please develop a stronger monitoring system that includes regular unannounced visits of all foster care homes in our state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr.