Foster Care: A System in Crisis

Months of reporting by InvestigateWest shed light on a foster care system under strain and in disarray. Distributed via our partners KCTS 9 and Crosscut, as well as on our own website, reporters Susanna Ray and Allegra Abramo produced stories about social worker churn, systemic obstacles to academic success and emotional stability for foster kids, and the foster parent exodus — but with a special focus on solutions. We plan to follow these issues in the legislature and in the coming years.  

InvestigateWest starts conversations that are urgently needed for the betterment of our society. In this Seattle Channel recording of the Town Hall event spurred by InvestigateWest’s reporting, panelists Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell, Representative Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), former Department of Social and Health Services employee Dee Wilson, advocacy lead and Washington State Parent Ally Committee/Children’s Home Society of Washington staffer Alise Hegle, and Foster Parents Association of Washington State Executive Director Mike Canfield discuss paths forward with moderator and Town Hall Program Director Katy Sewall.

New laws leave voters to navigate maze of requirements

CINCINNATI – With the presidential election less than three months away, millions of Americans will be navigating new requirements for voting – if they can vote at all – as state leaders implement dozens of new restrictions that could make it more difficult to cast a ballot. Since the last presidential election in 2012, politicians in 20 states passed 37 different new voting requirements that they said were needed to prevent voter fraud, a News21 analysis found. More than a third of those changes require voters to show specified government-issued photo IDs at the polls or reduce the number of acceptable IDs required by pre-existing laws. An appellate ruling kicked the case back to a lower court to determine ways to make it easier for Texans without ID to vote, after the court found that more than 600,000 lacked the required ID.“We have two world views: the people that think voter fraud is rampant and the people who want to push the narrative that it’s hard to vote. The bottom line is neither is true,” said Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has been sued several times over his state’s removal of some voters from the registration rolls, elimination of same-day registration and curbs to early voting.

Native Americans still fighting for voting equality

Native Americans who live on reservations consistently deal with distances and language barriers when it comes to voting. But experts who study Native American voting rights said recent changes to legal requirements and provisions for voting have exacerbated those problems.

Some Companies Break Ranks to Halt Risk of Kids Dying from Window Cords

Cords that kill — window-blind cords that have strangled hundreds of children — are being discontinued by a few companies that make the blinds. The moves follow years of inaction by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is now starting rulemaking on the matter. Says the CEO of one blind-maker: “I am very sorry we did not do it sooner.”