Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Department of Social and Health Services

Feb.
2nd

Fragile seniors, families need state’s help

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.

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Dec.
19th

More criminally insane here? No thanks

This editorial appears in Sunday’s print edition.

Phillip Paul should not become Pierce County’s problem, either literally or figuratively.

Paul is the paranoid schizophrenic killer who walked away from the Spokane County Interstate Fair in September. He was found three days later near Goldendale after a massive manhunt.

In the wake of the escape, the Department of Social and Health Services convened a safety review panel to suggest changes.

That panel issued its final report on Thursday. Among its dozen or so recommendations was the suggestion that the state consider consolidating all of its criminally insane mental patients in – you guessed it – Pierce County.

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Nov.
8th

Price of delay in releasing public records: $525,001

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Failing to disclose public records can get expensive, as the state keeps finding out.

The Department of Social and Health Services recently agreed to pay $525,001 to three girls who’d been abused for years by their state-licensed foster father, who was convicted of sex crimes two years ago and sentenced to four years in prison. The money wasn’t compensation for the abuse; it was for the agency’s violations of the state’s Public Records Act.

Their girls’ attorneys had sued DSHS for documents related to their $45 million claim for damages. The agency reportedly turned over more than 5,300 records, but the lawyers suspected some were being withheld. After they filed another lawsuit, 203 more turned up.
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Sep.
21st

A day at the fair for a psychotic killer?

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Phillip Arnold Paul is back where he belongs – in lockdown.

The head-slapping story of the 47-year-old criminally insane killer – who walked away from an Eastern State Hospital field trip to the Spokane County fair – could have had a far worse ending.

A big attaboy goes to the federal, state and local law enforcement officers who converged on tiny Goldendale in central Washington to nab Paul on Sunday, three days after he escaped.

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