For immediate release May 29, 2023 

Contact: Sarah Spier, Director of External Relations 509.828.9963   

The Empire strikes back.  DOH’s supposed efforts to protect children at Daybreak is making their mental health worse. 

Despite a breathtaking abuse of power by the Department of Health, Daybreak Youth Services remains open and is still serving youth.  Faced with having its “intent to suspend” Daybreak’s license thrown out via the rehab’s motion for summary judgement, the DOH used an “ex parte” procedure which required no notice to Daybreak and issued a “summary notice” to suspend their licenses on a Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend in an effort to close down Daybreak before they could appeal within the four-day window to file.    

“In my 20 years as an attorney, I have never seen a more harmful, vindictive, or retaliatory action,” said David Smith, Daybreak’s attorney, who will file an appeal. 

DOH said that they needed to take such action because there is an immediate danger of harm to Daybreak’s patients, but relied on events that occurred and were resolved in 2021 and 2022. In so doing, they violated Daybreak’s right to due process.   

“These actions have been taken without the DOH having proven these allegations and are inconsistent with due process,” said Julian Gonzales, a Behavioral Health Services expert with   25 plus years of experience conducting and supervising certification and licensing for matters related to substance use disorder and behavioral health for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.  

Ironically, while Daybreak poses no threat to the wellbeing of its patients, the action of the DOH does.  “The DOH’s actions compromise Daybreak’s ability to provide safe and effective treatment services to patients,” said Gonzales “by diverting staff time and financial resources to defend against unproven, false, defamatory and malicious accusations.” 

 There are now more than 98 distraught kids and families who don’t know where they or their kids are supposed to go.   

Daybreak is one of the few in-patient facilities in Washington and the largest youth Medicaid facility in the state. But for Daybreak, the kids they serve are likely to end up on the street, in jail, or in the morgue. “One of the most important aspects of mental health treatment is consistency and stability” said Sandi Skok, Daybreak’s Mental Health Director. “The abrupt actions of DOH   is increasing the kid’s anxiety and depression. The negative impacts of disrupting their treatment like this could have irrevocable, long-lasting consequences.”    

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