InvestigateWest’s sustained in-depth coverage of a crisis of historic proportions in Washington state’s foster care system was instrumental in spurring six new state laws, including one setting up a new state agency to renew state efforts to help abused and neglected children and teenagers. The work also spurred $48 million in new state funding for the foster care system.
InvestigateWest is happy to announce the launch of its first collaboration with Patch, a network of online local news sites. A team of InvestigateWest reporters and photographers spent more than six months examining issues of family homelessness in Washington State. The resulting award-winning Generation Homeless project looked at family homelessness through the lens of young adults – one of the most under-recognized segments driving the surge in homeless families in Washington, as well as the impact of this trend on children and school systems around the state.Joining us in localizing this effort even further is Patch, a network of online local news sites. Patch reporters and editors dug even deeper at the local level to see how this disturbing trend is playing out in school communities throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.Edmonds Patch, for example, drilled down to see how an underfunded federal mandate to provide transportation for homeless students is affecting the school district’s budget.Enumclaw Patch looked at the difficulties schools face in tracking and identfying homeless familes in order to provide services.Kirkland Patch looked at what it’s like for kids to be homeless on the East Side.These and other stories to come this week demonstrate the power of linking investigative and community journalism. They take a big, nationwide issue, and show how it is hittng each of us, where we live.