This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
The Seattle Times uncovered plenty that is appalling about the state’s adult family homes in a recent eye-opening series. But nothing was more damning than the way the newspaper had to go about reporting the story.
The Department of Social and Health Services was unable to answer critical questions concerning its regulation of the state’s 2,843 adult family homes – questions as seemingly basic as which homes had assaults on residents.
So the newspaper requested thousands of public records and used them to build its own database.
That’s a compelling argument for why public disclosure laws matter. It’s also an indictment of the state’s ability to assist average citizens who are struggling with decisions about long-term care.