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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Daybreak Youth Services lays off staff as new allegations about counselor come to light, legal battle continues

Daybreak Youth Services in Spokane lost its license after the facility failed to cooperate with a Washington state Department of Health investigation.  (The Spokesman-Review photo archive)

Daybreak Youth Services continued its legal fight Friday over the suspension of its license by the Department of Health, as new allegations that a Spokane counselor had a sexual relationship with a young patient became public.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Indu Thomas extended a temporary restraining order, which prohibits Daybreak from operating, at a hearing Friday morning.

Her ruling rejected Daybreak’s motion to dismiss the restraining order.

Daybreak also filed a request for an injunction in Clark County in hopes of staying open. A judge paused proceedings in Clark County earlier this month, pending the outcome of the Thurston County case.

Previously, Thomas fined Daybreak for continuing to operate without a license. Daybreak’s attorney, David H. Smith, said the nonprofit has laid off staff and has not had patients since mid-June.

The nonprofit plans to continue fighting the suspension in both administrative and superior court, Smith said.

Friday’s court hearing comes days after Madison Taber, a former Daybreak counselor, had her license suspended when a Health Department investigation found Taber crossed professional boundaries with several clients.

Taber’s conduct was reported to the Health Department after a 17-year-old former patient died of a drug overdose. The girl’s family reported that Taber and the 17-year-old had been dating since they met at Daybreak.

Taber voluntarily left employment with Daybreak in 2022, according to Smith. She has yet to file a response to DOH’s allegations but still can do so. Taber does not currently face any criminal charges.

It’s unclear if the Health Department reported the findings of their investigation to law enforcement. The department said the person who would know if the agency reported Taber’s conduct to law enforcement was out of the office until after The Spokesman-Review went to press.

Taber is not under investigation by the Spokane Police Department. No reports were made to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office or to law enforcement agencies in the Tri-Cities, where Taber is from.

The Spokane Police Department is reviewing some cases associated with Daybreak for any indication of criminal activity after their license was suspended, said Julie Humphreys, a department spokesperson.

Smith said the lack of criminal investigation into Taber casts doubt on the Health Department’s investigation, calling the allegations “rumors.”

Daybreak did investigate allegations that Taber had an inappropriate relationship with a patient while she was employed there, but both the patient and Taber denied it.

“That was investigated and there was no proof that had happened,” Smith said. “Both denied that anything inappropriate had happened between them.”