Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Social Services’ Category

DSHS manager fined for misusing public facilities

by Matt Rosenberg January 14th, 2013

The Building Manager for the Children’s Administration of the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services will pay a $2,000 fine in an adjudicative settlement obtained today from the state’s Executive Ethics Board, for using his workplace garage in Tacoma to store his own private vehicles and motorcycles. The so-called stipulation says that Ray Meinzer admitted that over the course of 18 months he stored two private vehicles and at different times, one to two of his own motorcycles in the garage of the DSHS facility where he worked, at 2121 S. State Street. The stipulation says that the the average cost of private storage for one vehicle and one motorcycle is about $1,200 per year. This ethics case is the 64th – most from within Washington State – that we’ve detailed at Public Data Ferret since 2010. (See archive at bottom).

Scant gains from DSHS foster youth ed services program

by Matt Rosenberg November 27th, 2012

A special services-based initiative for foster youth in K-12 public schools in Washington that was created by the legislature in 2006 isn’t correlated with improved academic outcomes for the thousands of students it has served, according to a new report for lawmakers delivered by the state’s own in-house policy analysis unit. The report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy on the Education Advocacy Program (EAP) of the state’s Department of Social and Health Services found that compared to an equal number of similarly at-risk foster children who weren’t in the program, the high school graduation rates and grade point averages of 2,437 selected students who did use it between 2006 and 2011 were not any better.

Seattle region ranks 2nd of 33 in U.S. suicide attempts

by Matt Rosenberg November 4th, 2012

The Seattle metro region is a hotspot for suicide attempts, according to a newly released federal report drawn from data in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The report, titled “Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior in 33 Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2008 to 2010,” was released just last week by a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It finds that among the 33 regions assessed, only Dallas ranked higher than Seattle in the rate of actual annual suicide attempts for those 18 and older.

Auditor estimates $73 million in WA childcare overpayments

by Matt Rosenberg October 5th, 2012

Almost one in four federal and state dollars spent on Working Connections program child care subsidies in Washington state during Fiscal Year 2011 were overpayments, according to a new report from the office of Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag. State agencies in charge didn’t agree with the exact estimates but acknowledged that “the exiting system is not working as efficiently or effectively as we want it to or as it should.” They are to report to the legislature in December on contractor proposals for a new tracking system to improve accountability.

Seattle wants takeover of mismanaged Indian commission

by Matt Rosenberg September 25th, 2012

A Seattle City Council committee Wednesday will hold a public hearing and then likely approve for a full council vote soon afterward a resolution to take over the floundering Seattle Indian Services Commission. A city public development authority formed in 1972 to help facilitate delivery of social services to the city’s Native American population, the Commission has suffered a major meltdown in the last several years. Its Pearl Warren Building at 606 12th Ave. S. at the eastern edge of Seattle’s International District has $2.5 million in unmitigated water damage. Its main tenant, whose monthly rent is key to paying for those repairs and retiring $6.7 million in outstanding debt tied to bonds which got the structure and a neighboring facility built, is the non-profit Seattle Indian Health Board. The board occupies space in both the Warren building and the commission’s adjacent Leschi Center at 611 12th Ave. S., and had been threatening to move out unless it could take over the properties and fix the problem. But the pending resolution leaves open for now the exact specifics of future control. Meanwhile the city has spent upwards of $120,000 on emergency repairs and studies on solving the water infiltration problem; and the commission, which has no staff of its own at present, owes more than $75,000 in back rent.

CBO infographic explains deficit, debt, taxes, services

by Matt Rosenberg August 28th, 2012

A recently released report and infographic from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office warn that Congress should stick to its guns and execute the intent of the federal deficit reduction laws it has passed in recent years, or risk putting the nation on an “unsustainable” fiscal path. Ending as planned a wide range of existing tax cuts including two percent off the Social Security payroll tax, plus making other planned benefits reductions to Medicare and unemployment, and allowing the planned triggering in 2013 of automatic cuts in discretionary and mandatory federal spending, would cut the federal deficit from a projected $1.1 trillion at the end of fiscal 2012 (ending Sept. 30) to $640 billion in fiscal 2013, says CBO.

Sticking to the planned 2013 reforms will shave away some economic growth and keep unemployment slightly higher, but more importantly, says CBO, it will prevent the federal public debt from soaring to 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product, a level not seen since World War 2. The infographic concludes, “Because current policies would ultimately lead to an unsustainable level of federal debt, policymakers will need to adopt – at some point – policies that will require people to pay significantly more in taxes, accept substantially less in government benefits and services, or both.”

Here below in three parts is the infographic prepared by CBO. Use your Web browser’s “zoom in” feature to increase the size of the print, as needed. Or view it here.

Public Data Ferret’s U.S. Government+ Finance/Budget archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

State finds gaps in sex offender screening at foster homes

by John Stang August 8th, 2012

Twenty-eight sex offenders fell between the cracks of state background checks on child care homes between 2002 and 2012, said a state performance audit released last week. “We found that even with required criminal background checks, monitoring and/or regular social worker visits, offenders still lived in child and foster care homes undetected,” the report said. The audit’s purpose was to see if Washington’s sex offender databases could be used to to help monitor state-regulated facilities with children. This was done after similar audits in other states found that a child care provider or caretaker could pass background checks, but could still allow a sex offenders inside a facility without reporting that person to the appropriate regulating agency. Washington has roughly 18,000 registered sex offenders. The 28 sex offenders were living in foster homes unreported by the providers. The audit cross-checked sex offender addresses with the addresses of child care providers to find the 28 on both.