Back in May, the Women Helping Women Fund released some astonishing numbers showing 37 children out of every 1000 in Washington are victims of child abuse or neglect.
In Spokane County, however, that number jumps to 57 for every 1000. Those numbers may be even higher because an accepted report of child abuse or neglect might include more than one child.
Which is why the opening of the brand new Vanessa Behan in east Spokane can't come soon enough.
Sure, the facility is larger than the old one that has sat on E. 8th for many years. In fact, it's about three times as big. With that extra space, the staff expects to be able to make an immediate and sizable impact in the fight against child abuse and neglect in Spokane.
"Spokane County has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in the State of Washington," Executive Director Amy Knapton Vega said on Wednesday. "There are about 18 founded cases every single day."
Vega said at the old facility they were having to turn away 1 out of every 3 requests for help due to space limitations. She added even then for every one child that they are able to help, there are ten more who need it.
Vanessa Behan is 100 percent privately funded which means donations, like the ones you make during our telethon every year, or like the $300,000 donation they received from The Avista Foundation on Wednesday, are so important.
"We can't do what we do without this community partnering with us and supporting us," Vega said. "We are dependent on every organization and business and Avista has just come through in unbelievable ways for us over the years."
The new Vanessa Behan will open up in less than two weeks at 2230 E. Sprague Avenue. They want parents in the community who might be feeling overwhelmed or in a dangerous situation for their children to reach out for help, no matter how big or small your issue may be.
"So often parents feel like they can't come because they're not in a big enough crisis, or they're afraid to call us because they think we're connected to Child Protective Services. That's just not true," Vega said. "I would encourage any family who thinks they might need us to just pick up the phone, call, talk to one of our staff members who can talk about how we can help, what services we provide and then help parents make that decision about trusting us."
Vanessa Behan doesn't just depend on large donations from telethons or other charitable organizations. They appreciate all kinds of donations including diapers, formula, clothing, etc. They even have an Amazon Wish List.
If you'd like to find out more about donating money, supplies or your time, CLICK HERE.