Washington’s foster children spending more nights in hotels

SEATTLE — A new report reveals Washington state’s foster children are spending more nights in hotel rooms instead of licensed care homes.

The increase comes despite a KING 5 investigation in February in which the secretary of the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) pledged to curb the practice.

In his 2020 year-end report, DCYF ombuds Patrick Dowd said children in the foster care program spent a combined total of 1,863 nights in hotel rooms, under the watch of social workers or security guards. That’s a 23% increase in the number of total nights in a hotel room when compared to last year, which also saw a significant increase — 40% — in the use of hotel rooms to house children.

“For those children it’s very important. It can be traumatic, and it underscores the gaps in the (DCYF) system,” Dowd said.

Dowd said most of the hotel nights involved two dozen of the most hard-to-place children who have developmental disabilities, behavioral, or mental health issues…

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