Re: “Welfare recipients may face drug testing” (TNT, 2-14).
I am dismayed some of our leaders in Olympia are presenting bills to test welfare recipients for drugs. This is a complex issue both legally and financially.
Perhaps a more logical place to start drug testing would be the initial foster care applicants. DSHS foster care licensing does not test new applicants for drugs. First and foremost, foster care children deserve to be protected as much as possible. The cost of drug testing initial foster care applicants would be low. The number of foster care abuse court settlements paid out by DSHS could be reduced.
DSHS responded to my records request in April 2012. The cost of drug testing initial foster care applicants would be low based on the record request data. The number of new foster care licenses for 2009 was 1,966, 2010 was 1,570 and 2011 through October 2011 was 1,442.
If DSHS is to begin a drug-testing program, let’s start in a smaller DSHS division such as Child Protective Services while giving additional protection to foster children.