An investigative report by KING 5’s Susannah Frame exposed the extreme abuse and neglect suffered by Laura Gholston, a 47-year-old Tacoma woman with developmental disabilities. The story uncovered an infuriating apathy from the state worker charged with watching out for Laura, who had no way of speaking out for herself.
That’s why I sponsored legislation to better protect people with developmental disabilities. The new law directs the Developmental Disabilities Administration to identify people at the highest risk of abuse and neglect. It also increases inspections of where they are cared for — including at least one unannounced visit per year. The legislation also creates the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, which investigates and recommends changes for care of people with severe developmental disabilities.
There have been simply too many stories like this involving preventable neglect and severe abuse going unstopped by the state. DSHS must be accountable for combatting abuse, and carrying out its incredibly important duty of ensuring proper care.