The evaluator came on a cloudy afternoon last April, bringing a state-issued laptop and another chance at a long-held dream.
She sat with Amy and Tony Crawley in the living room of their Kirkland home as they pleaded for help with their son, Rowan, then 7 and struggling with severe autism.
She listened to their story about how a recent trip to a nearby pharmacy ended with Rowan clearing a shelf of supplements and scratching Amys arm so hard it bled.
She watched the boy cling to his mother, unable to talk or make eye contact, a wash cloth dangling from his mouth for him to chew to calm his anxiety.
She typed their wishes into the laptop access to a behavior program, help paying for needed therapies, an occasional visit from a trained caregiver to give them a break.
Six weeks later, the results of the update evaluation arrived by mail: Rowan still met the states criteria for receiving services.
But still, the letter reported, there is no funding available.
Perhaps no phrase better summarizes the system for residents with developmental disabilities in Washington state, where some 14,600 families determined eligible for services dont receive any.
It is not a waitlist, per se, because that term implies a linear path toward an end.
Advocates say the only way off the No Paid Services Caseload, as it is called, is experiencing a crisis and catching an evaluators attention just as a spot opens.
Its essentially a lottery, said Ed Holen, executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Council, an advisory organization whose members are appointed by the governor. Theres no difference between those receiving services and those not receiving services, except that one group has managed to get the services.