State criticized after fatal attack in adult family home

A state lawmaker is demanding changes in Washington’s operations of adult family homes after a violent attack in one such facility in Lakewood claimed the life of a resident.

According to authorities, a man struck another male resident in the face with a coffee mug during a dispute Oct. 27 at Visions Adult Family Home. The 57-year-old victim died later at a hospital. His assailant, who reportedly has mental health issues, is facing criminal charges associated with the death.

In reponse to the incident, State Sen. Steve O’Ban, whose legislative district includes the Lakewood area, asked the state Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) for a moratorium on placing violent offenders into adult family homes. The suspect in the Lakewood death reportedly had a record of previous violence before living in that home, and O’Ban said the state must stop placing persons with violent histories in adult family homes.

DSHS oversees the approximately 3,000 adult family homes in Washington.

Lakewood officials sued the state last May in an attempt to block violent offenders from living in adult family homes in the city, but a Pierce County Superior Court judge ruled cities can’t have that authority.

DSHS and the governor’s office, which supervises the agency, have said they welcome discussions of regulations concerning who can live in adult family homes.