For immediate release June 14, 2023
Contact: Sarah Spier, Director of External Relations
DOH asked Daybreak to do the impossible and now kids are paying the price
What a long, strange trip it’s been. It started when the Washington Department of Health launched a campaign to suspend Daybreak’s license that began after DOH asked Daybreak Youth Services to violate a federal privacy statute and Daybreak refused—and asked DOH to obey the law. No matter that Daybreak is one of the few residential facilities for youth struggling with substance abuse, depression, suicide and sex trafficking, DOH announced their intent to suspend in August 2022.
Faced with losing in Clark County Superior Court following Daybreak’s motion for summary judgement, DOH filed a “summary suspension,” revoking Daybreak’s licenses on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and gave them four days, three of which were on a holiday, to shut down both Daybreak facilities—an impossible task.
DOH then filed for a TRO that was first granted, then stricken and finally reinstated heading into Thursday’s hearing on DOH’s motion for contempt for disobeying the TRO.
DOH knows that it is asking Daybreak to do the impossible and is doing so at the expense of the kids under Daybreak’s care. Case in point, one patient who was forced out of Daybreak recently relapsed, overdosed and was hospitalized. In a parallel situation, a young woman in Daybreak’s receiving center for sex trafficked women, is in danger of being jailed for not completing her treatment at Daybreak.
“DOH is going after Daybreak without regard to the well-being of the kids.” said David H. Smith, Daybreak’s attorney. “The motion for contempt is being pursued by DOH to intimidate Daybreak’s board.”
Daybreak is opposing DOH’s motion and will file a motion to overturn the restraining order in Appellate Court. “DOH has been moving forward legally on unproven and unprovable allegations,” said Smith. “This ends when they are in an impartial legal proceeding when they have to provide facts.”
For all these reasons Daybreak is temporarily suspending its clinical operations but will continue to fight for the future of the organization.
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Note: Daybreak provides an indispensable suite of services that help some of Washington’s most vulnerable youth including:
- Two residential inpatient facilities for substance use disorder (Spokane and Vancouver);
- A Restorative Receiving center, focusing on stabilizing youth that have been or who are at risk of being commercially and sexually exploited;
- An Evaluation & Treatment Center, focusing on mental health crises and suicide;
- Three WISE teams in Spokane (family-focused wrap around intensive services for clients and their families);
- Fully accredited schools in both Spokane & Vancouver.