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Contact: Chris Case, 360-902-7892, (cell) 360-485-8234, chris.case@dshs.wa.gov
May 20, 2013
DSHS removes troubled teens from three New Vision facilities

OLYMPIA: In a hearing Friday, Thurston County Superior Court ruled that the Department of Social and Health Services, DSHS, is not required to return the troubled foster teens who were removed due to serious safety concerns at three New Vision foster care facilities.

New Vision is a private business that operates four licensed and contracted foster care facilities in WA, and two contracted facilities in OR. Due to numerous serious child safety concerns, the Department recently moved the youth to other foster placements or to their own families.

DSHS had been in regular communication with New Vision concerning safety and licensing issues at the facilities. Following a comprehensive inspection in April, DSHS determined that the promised improvements had not been made, and found additional serious safety violations. Issues that led to the decision that children were not safe or secure in the facilities included altering records of foster youth, inadequate supervision, using foster youth to restrain other foster youth, lack of training on behavioral management and restraints for staff members, lack of background checks for staff members and medication errors.

"Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of children in our care," said Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary of the Children’s Administration of DSHS. "We did not believe that these teens were either safe or secure in these facilities in spite of our many requests to New Vision to improve the conditions."

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DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.