In its continuing coverage of the Washington state’s foster care system, InvestigateWest, in partnership with the news site Crosscut.com, reports that state officials have nearly doubled the amount it pays to secure beds for children, from $325 per night to $600. Recently obtained payment records and confidential but incomplete data obtained by InvestigateWest shows how some host families are making a small fortune as the state grapples with finding solutions for what one state official called “child mills.” What’s more, the state sometimes spends more than $2,000 per night to provide children shelter at hotels. The ongoing work by InvestigateWest and Crosscut prompted a forum that drew hundreds of people and garnered attention by lawmakers, who have enacted new laws to address shortcomings in the state’s foster care system.
In photo by Kathryn Sauber for InvestigateWest, foster kids and their advocates rally in Olympia last spring.
[Funding for this project was provided by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.]