20 February, 2015
I am asking for your help all this week to email and call your legislators to support legislation that is pending that could help Ryther and other providers maintain services that are desperately needed by the highest needs children in our state’s child welfare system.
We are asking you to tell your legislators to support Senate Bill (SB) 5852 and House Bill (HB) 2095 from now until Feb. 27th. To find your legislator, visit this website and enter your address. Tell them that our highest needs children depend on the passage of SB 5852 and HB 2095. More information about this advocacy campaign can be found here.
As many who follow Ryther closely probably already know, we have been forced to close our Adolescent Boy’s Chemical Dependence Cottage because the deficits we incurred due to public sector reimbursement rates have remained unchanged for fifteen years.
You may also know that we have faced the possibility of closing one of our three cottages for children ages six to fourteen for similar reasons. About 85% of our clients in our Sub-Acute Residential Treatment Program are referred to us by the State of Washington’s Children’s Administration. Reimbursement from this branch of the Department of Health and Social Services for the kind of kids we serve is administered by a component called Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS). The rate of reimbursement Ryther receives today is the same as it was in 2004. This has resulted in the loss of almost 100 BRS beds across the state since that time. SB 5852 and HB 2095 would fix this.
We have been trying to work with the State for the past three years to get some relief from this situation. When we started serious discussions with the government, we indicated that our strategy of developing private fee for service or insurance business would help, but that it wouldn’t be enough.
You may want to know that the children come to Ryther with an average of nine failed State foster placements after they were removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. What this means is that these children were traumatized eight more times after the original crisis. I think that is abundant evidence that if they could be cared for elsewhere the State would surely find that option. Without SB 5852 and HB 2095, this trend will continue.
My belief is that you wouldn’t be reading this now if you did not have compassion for kids who have had more bad breaks in a precious few years than most of us can imagine. These children need a lot of intensive care and treatment so that they can avoid what Dr. Anda (ACES study) terms the cascading intergenerational cycle of trauma. We have pretty good data on what is likely to happen to these kids if nothing is done.
Please Help. Thank you.
Lee Grogg, Ryther CEO