Northwest NEWS

May 25, 1998

Editorial

The elderly and the young need us; don't let them down


I have started a petition. The first page is almost filled. This is it.
  

   We, the undersigned, want an end to band-aid treatment when surgery is required.
   We want all children's concerns, (i.e., Child Protective Services, adoption, foster care, aid to dependent children, child support and the oversight of boarding homes for elders) to be a separate entity from DSHS and fully funded.
   We want a rigorous six month training course for CPS workers, with emphasis on the fact that the welfare of the CHILD comes first, not the birth mother or the CPS worker.
   This is a partial list of DSHS bungling, at least those that we know about: the deaths of Eli Creekmore and Lauria Grace; the deaths of four infants in a Seattle receiving home; the infamous handling at O.K. Boys' Ranch; the Wenatchee sex snafu; the rape and murder of a Stanwood babysitter by a young man supposed to be under DSHS supervision.
   Also, the complete disappearance of Lenoria Jones while her aunt (who lied under oath) walks free.
   With a record like that, why was DSHS given oversight of boarding homes?
   It has been reported 45% of the 440 homes have let their licenses lapse. Older ones have no overhead sprinklers. Inspectors check rarely and seldom impose penalties.
   How can DSHS take on more duties when they don't take care of what they already have?

   One page of the petition is full. I am working on two more. I will be sending copies of this letter and the filled petitions to Governor Locke. I suppose the logical choice would also be to send copies to Attorney General Christine Gregoire. She supported former DSHS Secretary Jean Soliz completely all during the O.K. Boys' Ranch mess. She also asked the State Supreme Court to dismiss the law suit in the Wenatchee mess. Her spokeswoman said the state (DSHS and Attorney General's Office) is simply doing what they are expected to do to defend taxpayers' liabilities.
  
   So who defends these kids and elders? They are in similar conditions; they have no money; they don't vote and are not a rich and powerful lobby. They need us; let's not let them down. Start petitions, write letters, make phone calls. I am sending the letter and petition to Governor Locke because he always answers calls on the legislative hot line and answers letters in a courteous and fair-minded fashion.
   Marguerite Ensley, Carnation