After Hours: Fostering Chaos |

KING 5’s Chris Ingalls and Taylor Mirfendereski investigate the abuse of ‘hard-to-place’ foster children in Washington state.

After Hours: Promote chaos is a multi-part, ongoing KING 5 investigation into the abuse of “hard-to-place” foster children in Washington state.

Part 1

No bed, no blanket: Social workers don’t give a damn about Washington, forcing foster kids to sleep in cars, offices as punishment

May 20, 2021: A four-month investigation by KING 5 uncovered a year-long pattern of child advocates in Washington dangling from basic necessities like a safe, warm place to sleep in order to get certain “hard-to-place” foster children to behave or follow directions.

Read and watch them whole story.

Part 2

Social workers in Washington have complained about a lack of state support for after-hours foster care

July 13, 2021: Interviews with DCYF staff and a review of law enforcement records reveal a chaotic and unstable environment for the social workers who work the night shift.

Read and watch them whole story.

follow-up stories

Washington watchdog investigates Child Protection Agency over alleged punishment of foster youth

June 8, 2021: The state watchdog investigation comes in response to a KING 5 investigation that uncovered a years-long pattern of child protectors in Washington dangling from basic necessities like a safe, warm place to sleep to get challenging foster youth to behave or follow orders .

Washington state agrees to end hotel and office stays for foster children

June 21, 2021: The Washington Department of Children, Youth and Family Affairs (DCYF) has agreed to end its years-long practice of keeping foster children overnight in hotels and state offices, according to federal court documents filed on Friday.

DCYF oversight board is questioning state youth welfare director over alleged punishment of foster youth

July 15, 2021: DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter was questioned for nearly two hours Thursday by members of an oversight group in direct response to multiple KING 5 probes.

Washington foster agency to introduce new housing option for hard-to-place teens

September 2, 2021: The Washington State Board of Fosters unveiled a six-page plan to execute a federal court order to end the placement of foster children in hotels and state offices.

‘There are serious problems’: DCYF oversight board chair seeks answers on Washington juvenile detention

October 6, 2021: The Washington State Child Protection Agency chief is facing increasing criticism for his agency’s response to issues raised in a KING 5 investigation into the punishment of foster children.

Why Washington is Fighting to Stop Hoteling Foster Children

10/17/2021: With a looming deadline to halt Washington’s hotel placement of foster children, advocates have doubts about the state’s plan to make it happen.

Washington agency is asking courts to force some foster kids into unwanted placements

10/21/2021: As DCYF executives struggle to meet a federal court deadline banning hotel stays for foster children, they are trying a forceful new tactic to comply with the order.

State warden confirms KING 5 investigation finds foster home punished hard-to-place youth

Dec 13, 2021: An investigation by the Washington Office of Family and Children’s Ombuds, launched in response to a KING 5 investigation, confirmed reporters’ findings that some foster children spent most of the night in government vehicles and child rights activists occasionally used coercion to get the children away to be persuaded to accept accommodation in group homes and foster families.

Contact the reporters

Taylor Mirfendereski is an investigative reporter from KING 5 specializing in multimedia storytelling, feature length reporting and digital projects. Follow her on Twitter at @taylormirf. Email her at or contact her on Signal at 206-348-4106.

Chris Ingalls is an investigative reporter for KING 5. Follow him on Twitter @CJIngalls. Email him at or contact him on Signal at 971-267-5320. After Hours: Fostering Chaos |

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