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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane County renews contract as Daybreak Youth Services struggles to fix budget shortfall

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 15, 2020

Catherine Reynolds, life enrichment director, and Sarah Spier, director of external relations, enter Daybreak Youth Services, 628 S. Cowley Street. The facility will continue operations after a period when it’s future seemed to be in jeopardy. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Catherine Reynolds, life enrichment director, and Sarah Spier, director of external relations, enter Daybreak Youth Services, 628 S. Cowley Street. The facility will continue operations after a period when it’s future seemed to be in jeopardy. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane County has renewed its contract with Daybreak Youth Services despite concerns that the behavioral health provider might close its doors in the coming weeks.

The county commissioners unanimously approved the contract on Tuesday. It authorizes the Spokane County Regional Behavioral Health Administrative Services Organization to provide Daybreak up to $200,000 in non-Medicaid reimbursements during 2020.

The county only reimburses Daybreak for services it performs, so money won’t be lost if Daybreak is forced to shut down, officials said.

Daybreak, a nonprofit founded in Spokane in 1978, provides inpatient and outpatient treatment to teenagers with mental health and substance use problems. Many of its clients have been victims of sex trafficking or have struggled with thoughts of suicide.

Recently, Daybreak has been soliciting donations to close a $500,000 budget shortfall. The organization says its financial situation stems from the troubled expansion of its treatment center in Brush Prairie, just north of Vancouver, Washington.

Problems at the co-ed facility triggered investigations by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Health and prompted the government to temporarily cut off Medicaid reimbursements. According to Daybreak, that resulted in a $3 million loss.

One Daybreak employee, Michael S. Trotter, 43, faces three charges of failure to report child abuse or neglect, a gross misdemeanor, in Clark County District Court.

Daybreak sued the sheriff’s office in state and federal courts, calling the allegations baseless and accusing deputies of exposing confidential patient information.

Daybreak leaders have stressed that the problems in Brush Prairie had nothing to do with services provided in Spokane. Since those problems emerged in 2018, Daybreak has hired a new CEO and responded to concerns raised by the Health Department.

Daybreak’s inpatient facility at 628 S. Cowley St. serves only girls ages 12 to 18.

In a statement Wednesday, Daybreak spokeswoman Sarah Spier said the organization raised more than $180,000 from local donors in late December and early January, following a Spokesman-Review story about the budget shortfall. She said Daybreak is in talks with “a number of city and state institutions” to keep the organization afloat.

“We feel extremely optimistic and hopeful,” the statement said. “What is clear is that no one wants to lose these vital services for youth in our community, and everyone agrees that Daybreak is a community asset that provides imperative services for youth across the state. Discussions are continuing to take place and Daybreak will know more within the next few weeks.”

Daybreak’s contract with the county covers treatment for youths who are at or below 220% of the federal poverty line and don’t have Medicaid. Daybreak didn’t bill the county for any services outlined in the contract in 2019, officials said.

Spokane County Commissioner Al French said county officials were expecting an update on Daybreak’s financial situation by the end of January. If Daybreak shuts down, the county might turn to other youth behavioral health providers that operate in the area, such as Excelsior.

“We’ll have that conversation when we find out whether Daybreak is going to be here,” French said.

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