For immediate release May 26, 2023
Contact: Sarah Spier, Director of External Relations
DOH says they intend to suspend Daybreak’s licenses. Daybreak intends to appeal and finds this is vindictive and retaliatory.
The Washington Department of Health posted a press release today saying that they intend to suspend licenses for both of Daybreak Youth Services facilities. The question is, can they really do that while they are in the midst of litigation over that very issue.
DOH gave Daybreak four days to appeal the determination. “The fact that they did this at 3 pm on a holiday weekend illustrates the department’s lack of fair play and due process,” said David Smith, Daybreak’s attorney. “This is a continuation of a dispute that began in August of 2022 and when Daybreak was on the verge of winning, they sought to amend their allegations because they thought Daybreak win. This is a vindictive and retaliatory filing.”
Daybreak will appeal.
DOH has long alleged that Daybreak is “uncooperative,” and listed that as one of the reasons they suspended they took this action. However, in a deposition, while under oath, DOH’s lead investigator said she didn’t have any evidence of non-cooperation, that it was only a “feeling.”
In its ongoing campaign against Daybreak, the DOH tried to slip in documents never seen before in its litigation against the recovery center nearly a month after the cutoff date for discovery.
Faced with the prospect of losing what was a dubious case, DOH attached the documents that had not been seen before to a declaration made by another Department investigator whose filings contained stories from former Daybreak staff members that painted a bleak picture of a lawless and dangerous place. By slipping them in after the discovery period it deprived Daybreak of the opportunity to vet the reports for accuracy, context and coercion.
In one such story, a former employee inferred something illegal or “sketchy” was happening at Daybreak. He said that four girls were brought to Daybreak’s Restorative Receiving Center, a place for girls who are victims of sex trafficking, under unusual circumstance. The patients were brought in at night from Arizona. “Staff were instructed not to tell anyone outside of who was supposed to be working on that side that these patients were in the facility,” he said.
Here’s what actually happened. Daybreak was contacted by Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth and Families with an urgent request for help. As it turned out, this was part of an interstate FBI sting to rescue girls who were being sex trafficked. For the girl’s safety, the FBI requested secrecy.
DOH has used unfair and legally questionable tactics against Daybreak in the past. A recent Freedom of Information Act request showed the employees of DOH and The Health Care Authority have colluded to shut down Daybreak.
“In my view, what the Department of Health did was an act of desperation,” said Smith. “Actions like this leads me to believe the DOH no longer believes that it can prove the accusations they made in their original notice of intent. Their actions are vindictive and retaliatory.”
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