When there is a youth in crisis...
there is a family in crisis.
- The Spokane community has many children in crisis who deserve our time and means. To respond to and address the needs of vulnerable children, we need to strengthen the capacities of families and communities who are trying to provide care.
“I think kids really want to have a reason to live. And I think that’s why gangs are so successful. There’s a passion there…we underestimate the power—especially with kids. Kids are fervent; kids are passionate. Kids are full of emotion and full of fire to make things happen. Kids who have the opportunity to experience something on that level are much more likely to get involved in it—good or bad.” (Bill Brittain, Director of Matchpoint, Relationships That Make a Difference)
- "Research shows that children who know where they came from are more resilient. They are able to handle problems, do better in school and better socially, because they know they are part of something larger than themselves," said Helen Jackson Graham, English professor. Helen is the Houston area Freedmen's Bureau coordinator, and has 20 years of experience in African American genealogical research. Nurture the interest and collaboration of genealogical and family history research. Linking to other families sometimes brings you right back around to your own family. Help them recover their historical memory. Help them recognize they are part of one human family. Help them
discover who they are, where they came from, discover their family
stories, and to feel connected and bound to their families through
generations. (Source: Reuniting the Black Family: Volunteers Index Freedmen's Bureau Records, by Linda Talbot, LDS Church News, November 4, 2015)
(See Family Histories)
- Child Abuse Defined. In Washington, abuse or neglect is defined as any sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or other injury that causes harm to the child’s “health, welfare or safety.” That includes unreasonable use of force to correct or restrain children, which is defined to include: throwing, kicking, burning or cutting a child; shaking a child under age 3; interfering with a child’s breathing; threatening a child with a deadly weapon; doing any other act likely to cause or “which does cause bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks.”
- Injuries and Violence to Children. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services CDC reports that injuries and violence are serious threats to the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Children and adolescents are at high risk for many injuries that can lead to death or disability.
Some of the greatest threats to American youth:
- Child Maltreatment. Each year, hundreds of thousands of children suffer abuse or neglect. In most cases, the abuser is someone known to the child—a parent, family member, teacher, or regular caregiver. Survivors are at increased risk for smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and other negative health outcomes.
- Child Passenger Safety. Motor vehicle injuries are the greatest public health problem facing children today. In fact, they are the leading cause of death among children in the United States.
- Fireworks-Related Injuries. All fireworks are dangerous, especially to children.
- Playground Injuries. Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.
- Poisonings. Children, especially those under age 6, are more likely to have unintentional poisonings than older children and adults. Adolescents are also at risk for poisonings, both intentional and unintentional.
- Residential Fire-Related Injuries. Children ages 4 years and younger are among those at highest risk for residential fire deaths and injuries.
- Suicide. Suicide rates among youth remain unacceptably high. It is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24.
- Traumatic Brain Injury. Among children ages 0 to 14 years, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result in an estimated 400,000 emergency department visits each year.
- Water Safety. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury death among children 14 years and younger. And for every child who drowns, three receive emergency department care for non-fatal submersion injuries.
- Young Drivers. Two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash.
- Youth Violence. Youth violence typically involves children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. The young person can be the victim, the perpetrator, or both. Youth violence includes aggressive behaviors such as verbal abuse, bullying, hitting, slapping, or fist fighting. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Family (Domestic) violence affects every member of the family, especially children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear. Many adults protect their significant other from being arrested, rather than preventing a child from being abused.
- Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to children who are physically abused. They may develop behaviors that mimic abusers and/or victims. Some children identify increasingly with the batterer, and adopt many of the same beliefs about gender roles and the use of control tactics. Children from violent households are often unable to establish nurturing bonds with either parent, and are at a greater risk of becoming the next generation of abusers.
- Children who grow up in homes where violence is present are:
6 times more likely to commit suicide
24 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.
60 times more likely to engage in delinquent behavior as an adolescent.
100 times more likely to become abusers themselves.
- Since domestic violence is a learned behavior, then it can also be unlearned. Despite the increased risk, not all children of domestic violence become batterers or tolerate abuse.
- May we never forget our homeless children who need love, understanding, and a permanent home.
- Over 1,000 children were cared for outside their own homes in Spokane County in 2007.
- Spokane County Juvenile Court receives hundreds of referrals a year for abused, neglected or abandoned children.
- Most mishaps with youth happen between the time school is out and 7:00 p.m.
- 1 in 5 high school girls says she has been abused by a date.
- 69,000 children are kidnapped each year in the U.S., and of those 82% are abducted by family members. In the last 7 years, 7,000 child abduction attempts
were made in the United States. In 81% of those cases, the children
got away because they knew what to do. Parents and guardians can
practice abduction scenarios with their children, reassuring them they
are strong and can get away. (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, July 2012)
- Alcohol kills more kids than any other drug. (U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011)
- Report Child Abuse. Be aware
of child abuse. Report abuse to law enforcement, CPS (Child Protective
Services), family members, school teachers, counselors, and friends.
- Report All Abuse. The entire
Spokane community (friends, neighbors, family members, schools, law
enforcement, the courts…) is working together to see that every child is
safe. If you see an adult hitting or slapping a child or a pregnant
woman, or suspect mental abuse, sexual abuse or neglect of a child, call
- If you have concerns about the safety of a child,
or believe a child is at immediate risk of severe harm or death, please
call 911. Law enforcement has the authority to shelter a child. That
is what they do, and what they are paid to do. Child abuse is a top
priority in Spokane.
- In the last 7 years, 7,000 child abduction attempts were
made in the United States. In 81% of those cases, the children got
away because they knew what to do. Parents and guardians can practice
abduction scenarios with their children, reassuring them they are strong
and can get away. (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, July 2012)
- Report Child Abuse. If you
have concerns about the safety of a child, and believe a child is at
immediate risk of severe harm or death, please call 911. Law
enforcement has the authority to shelter a child. That is what they do,
and what they are paid to do. Child abuse is a top priority in
Spokane. Please call--do not let fear paralyze you. To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call:
(509) 363-3550 CPS - Child Protective Services
8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m./M-F,
After Hours: (800) 562-5624 after 4:30 p.m.
Free Intake: 1-800-557-9671
TTY: (509) 363-3567
(509) 456-2233 Crime Check
(509) 838-6596 Crosswalk
(509) 838-4428 First Call for Help
(509) 624-7273 SAFeT Response Center
(509) 327-5111 Secret Witness
(PO Box 1205, Spokane, WA 99210)
(509) 477-2240 Sheriff’s Office
(800) 422-4453 The National Child Abuse Hotline: (1-800-4-A-CHILD)
(509) 242-8477 Tip-Line. Anonymous Spokane Police Dept. phone line to report any crime that is NOT an Emergency (abuse, domestic violence, gang activity, possible drug activity, fraud, theft, etc.) Call
(509) 242-TIPS An officer will call back to verify the information
and forward the complaint to the appropriate department within 24 hours; however, after the person has reported and verified the complaint, the caller can remain anonymous.
(509) 535-3155 Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery
(866) 363-4276 Washington State's DSHS
(Dept. of Social and Health Services)
(509) 326-1190 YWCA Counseling Center
- Ext 139
- Offer to provide a safe place for children.
There are at least 75 Safe Places (businesses and fire stations which
have a Safe Place sign in their window) for children at risk of abuse to
turn to in an emergency.
- Child abuse prevention relies on volunteer work.
“When the community takes an active, cooperative role
like this, we can steer kids away from dangerous alternatives,” said
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. “We not only save the child, we
also cut the costs affiliated with drug use, teen pregnancy and violent
crime. Without volunteers, without the community, we can’t do the job
we’re assigned to do.” (The Spokesman-Review, April 21, 2007)
- Safe Place signs.
Yellow-and-black signs posted outside local businesses, fire stations
and other organizations show children where they can find safety and
support. The Safe Place Program, helps connect children with social
service agencies. A second program trains adults in recognizing the
signs of child sexual abuse and how to help those children who may be at
risk of abuse. Partners with Families and Children, a Spokane social
service agency, delivers the workshops which provide parent education on
how to prevent, recognize and react in a responsible way. Both
programs are free.
- Protect Children from Sex Offenders.
Experts note that child sex offenders often seek work where they have
access to children, such as schools, youth groups, sports, music
activities, etc.. Offenders are also frequently well-regarded by
children and parents, because they seem so warm and nurturing.
- Volunteer to become a court advocate for abused and neglected children, ages newborn to age 18.
- Help children who have experienced abuse and domestic violence:
- Be a mentor to children, whether
you are a teacher, neighbor or someone who simply believes in them.
Teach children to hang on to hope and ask for help.
- Children in shelters during the holidays. Children
in shelters are often overlooked on Easter, Halloween, Christmas and
other holidays, as well as their own birthdays. Offer to provide items
such as Easter baskets filled with new toys, coloring books, crayons,
and candy. This takes a huge burden off the mother who is trying to
make a new life. It also gives the children a good memory to hold on to
during this difficult time.
- Volunteer to help baby-sit some
of the children in a domestic violence shelter while their mothers seek
counsel, rest, shop, and do other necessary things.
- Assist with the care of children in a crisis nursery or temporary childcare facility for emergency situations.
- Stop School Bullying and Violence. Encourage students to form
new friendships and help stop bullying, violence, and social isolation
in their schools. Many students feel bullied, left out, alone,
misunderstood, without friends, or invisible. These painful feelings
lead to social isolation, which is often a precursor to bullying. These
feelings are often highlighted at lunchtime, when kids are left to fend
for themselves socially. Unfortunately, for some students, lunchtime
is the hardest part of their day. Everyone needs to know that others
genuinely care about them, and some schools are doing something about
We Dine Together is a club at Boca Raton
Community High School in Florida, where students make sure that no one
in school sits alone at lunch. The message is to make outsiders always
feel included, valued and accepted by their peers. It consists of
students (including the coolest kids in school) who roam their school’s
courtyard during lunch looking for students who are eating alone. They
introduce themselves, and talk with them to get to know the students and
help them feel accepted. Open a We Dine Together Chapter at your
No One Eats Alone
is another program designed to help students make an effort to eat a
meal with their new classmates and peers. This lunchtime event seeks to
reverse the trends of social isolation by asking students to engage in a
simple act of kindness at lunch - making sure that no one is eating
alone. Learn more at https://www.nooneeatsalone.org/questions/
- School Tip lines. Students
can help prevent bullying, drugs and violence from occurring in their
school. A new web and text message base called School Tip line allows
students, parents and teachers to anonymously report incidents to school
administration. Administrators are then able to find out about things
early on--things that they would probably never have been aware of.
first came up with the idea for the site a couple of years ago when his
younger sister had some friends who were being picked on, but they were
too afraid to tell anyone because of all the negative peer pressure.
There's a code of silence, so students typically don't want to talk
about these things. They always know what's going on in their school,
but are either too fearful or don't have an outlet to report it.
Help students make their school safer.
Visit http://www.schooltipline.com to learn how to register your school and request to join School Tip line—and share it with your school administrators..
- Provide backpacks for children moved quickly into foster care--items such as toiletries, toys, reading and writing materials, and comfort blankets.
- Ask and be aware. If a child
becomes withdrawn, angry, fearful, unwilling to go places they have
previously gone (school, babysitter, grandparent, etc.) find out why.
Is someone touching them inappropriately? Are they afraid of another
child or adult?
- Pray for Children. Sometimes
the most powerful thing we can do for our children is to pray for
them. Pray for the millions of children throughout the world who have
become victims of violence and abuse at home, in the streets and in
their schools. Ask God to help those children who are trying to recover
from the death of a friend or family member. Ask God to heal those
families whose lives have been ripped apart because of a violent injury
(teen moms and their babies)
(509) 489-0349http://www.voaspokane.org/Services/Affordable-Housing/Alexandrias-HouseAston-Bleck Apts
(young mothers and their children)
(tend babies of teen mothers while they are in school)
525 W. Second Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 838-6596Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) http://depts.washington.edu/pcapuw/
Assist mothers in obtaining alcohol and drug treatment and staying in recovery.
Link mothers and their families to community resources that will help them build and maintain healthy and independent family lives. Help mothers prevent the births of future alcohol and drug-affected children. Sally’s House
(age 2-12 emergency foster care)
222 E. Indiana
(509) 325-6810Vanessa-Behan Crisis Nursery
(for children whose parents are experiencing a crisis) '
1004 E. 8th Avenue
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 535-3155 http://www.vanessabehan.orgChild Help
Changing lives with treatment programs designed to help children already affected by child abuse, and prevention programs designed to educate children and aid in prevention. http://www.childhelp.org “Why do they act that way?”
(a survival guide to the adolescent brain, for parents and teens)
by David Walsh, PhD.