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OLYMPIA — Susan Dreyfus, the director of the Department of Social and Health Services, is leaving after the end of the year.
Dreyfus will stay through the upcoming special legislative session, which begins Nov. 28 and is expected to take a big chunk of the $2 billion hole the state needs to fill out of DSHS. She's taking a job with Families International, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has three other nonprofits under its umbrella. Its previous director died in August.
Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Dreyfus to run the state's mega-agency in May 2009; at the time she was the chief operating officer for the Alliance for Children and Families and Families International in Wisconsin.
The governor will likely make an interim appointment before the end of the special session, her office said.
Good afternoon, Netizens…
The Working Connections Child Care Program, underwritten and administered by Washington State’s DSHS, helps low-income families pay for their child care while the parents are working. Governor Gregoire has proposed cutting this program by 30% in the current budget proposals. This would impact over 600 daycare centers in Eastern Washington, or approximately 20,000 children in more than 10,000 families and could also force the closure of hundreds of child care providers.
Most people enrolled in Working Connections are employed, but have low income levels. In this ultra-tight economy, they should be the last people to fall beneath the rolling stone of budget cuts, for without subsidized child care, most of those enrolled in Working Connections would no longer be able to afford child care, and thus probably lose their jobs. However, this does not appear to be the case according to one source within Working Connections I spoke with by phone this afternoon.
One might think that Gregoire would carefully consider the number of low-income families that would be impacted by this budget cut and carefully reconsider before she begins cutting.
What other places should our Governor consider cutting before she slashes Working Connections by 30% or more?
Photo: Colleen Beimer, from Bonney Lake, cries while holding a picture of her grandchildren. Richard Roesler - The Spokesman Review
Lawmakers, parents and a local prosecutor on Thursday blasted state child-protection officials, saying the state is too quick to remove children from their families.
“The system is broken. The children are forgotten,” said Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen. He said he found “a culture of deceit and deception” among Child Protective Services workers in Colville.
The standing-room-only crowd, numbering about 100, was full of parents and grandparents, some holding photographs of children.
Thursday’s meeting was called by state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, who’s been highly critical of state officials for months in a case involving grandparents’ efforts to get custody of their 3-year-old granddaughter.
“Lies are put on desks,” Roach said on the Senate floor later in the day. “Children are being hurt.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social and Health Services said officials take such allegations very seriously.
“If someone believes that any of our staff have been dishonest, falsified documents or have retaliated against families, we ask that people report this to the Children’s Administration or Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman,” said Sherry Hill.
“The first priority of the Children’s Administration is the safety of children,” she said. “Our goal is to keep children in their home as long as they are safe.”
Of the child abuse and neglect cases investigated, she said, fewer than 20 percent result in the children being placed in foster care. And when that does happen, Hill said, “we then work toward reunification with the family if that is possible.”