Dear InvestigateWest Reader,

In our newsroom, we measure success by one yardstick: Did our reporting make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people who live here in the Pacific Northwest? By that metric, our small but mighty crew has caused sweeping legal reform, systemic change and people in power to step down. As a 100% donor-funded newsroom, it’s our readers who make this work possible. And today we have an opportunity for you to triple that impact

Consider for a moment a society where journalists are not there to hold the powerful to account. Here’s a snapshot:

What happens when children in foster care turn 18? Due to a crisis within Washington’s child-welfare system, many end up homeless, incarcerated or in hospital emergency rooms.

Jesus Lopez agreed to attend Clarinda Academy in rural Iowa after bouncing between 29 foster homes and several group homes in Washington state, beginning at age 3. He had arrived excited to learn the welding trade. His Washington caseworker had encouraged the move. Things were finally looking up.

But just three days after arriving at the Clarinda, Lopez lay unmoving in his bed covered with bruises. Investigators would later report that youths had repeatedly been abused by staff at the group home for foster kids. Lopez’s experience at Clarinda in 2015 is just one of many stories of troubled foster youths mistreated there and at other group homes housing Washington foster kids.

Jesus Lopez, 21, in his Mount Vernon home on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Lopez entered in to the Washington foster care system at age four, and officially left the system on his 21st birthday. (Photo by Dorothy Edwards)

After InvestigateWest’s reporting on these critical issues, the Washington Legislature passed six laws to help foster kids and foster parents and rolled out $48 million in new funding.

When you donate, you become part of a community that believes investigative journalism is an essential part of a healthy democracy. Starting now through December 31, donations to InvestigateWest will be TRIPLED thanks to NewsMatch and a generous local donor both matching any gift you make up to $1,000.

Your support will help us meet our goals of expanding and diversifying our staff in 2024 so we can take on even more investigations like these. If you believe in the work we’re doing, will you give today?