Commerce selects Disability Rights Washington to provide new state ombuds services

OLYMPIA, WA – The Department of Commerce has awarded Disability Rights Washington the contract to provide ombuds services for the new Washington Developmental Disabilities Ombuds program.

The Legislature created the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds to help protect the health and well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities. The office will act as watchdog, monitoring and reporting on the services provided in Washington state for potential situations of abuse and neglect.

“I sponsored the bill to create this office because too many of our most vulnerable citizens have been left in unsafe and abusive conditions,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place. “This provides an advocate for families to work with the Department of Social and Health Services on ensuring the safety of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.”

“The Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds will monitor residential facilities, residences, and services, and make recommendations to the Legislature for reforms,” said Betty Schwieterman of Disability Rights Washington.  “We are honored to do this work and are confident the Ombuds’ efforts will lead to improved service delivery systems across Washington.”

“Improving our state’s capacity to better serve vulnerable people is an important part of our work help build stronger and more inclusive communities,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

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About Disability Rights Washington

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Their mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. DRW is governed by a board of directors and with help from their advisory council, works to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights. These groups are made up of people with disabilities, family members, and others who have an interest in disability rights.

Contacts:

Peter Tassoni, Community Services and Housing Division, 360-725-3125

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