The recent deaths of several children in the Spokane area have experts reminding people to speak up if they think they know of a child that is in an unsafe situation.
Child abuse is a conversation many people are uncomfortable having. You might be worried you're overreacting, over-stepping, or are just scared. But, experts say it's scarier knowing that a child might be in danger with no one to protect them.
The deaths of three children in as many weeks sent shockwaves through our community.
“Having deaths of children is almost like an earthquake in the community,” said Dan Fox, Clinical Manager of Lutheran Community Services. “There's ripples through individuals, families, schools, and the entire community.”
Unfortunately, child abuse is common. Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates upward of 40,000 abuse and neglect calls per year in Washington State alone.
Now, CPS will perform a fatality review for 2-year-old Adalynn Hoyt.
“It's hard to believe so many deaths in a row can happen in our community,” said Amy Vega, Executive Director of Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.
But, there are resources right here in our area. Fox says Lutheran Community Services will asses families, then provide counseling addressing both the child being abused and any adults, struggling to be good parents.
“Invite them to come in and get some support for their anger, support for depression,” Fox said. “Sometimes depression leads to violent behavior.”
If you're feeling overwhelmed, or maybe you think that the care of your children is going to be secondary, you can drop your kids off at Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery for up to 72 hours, no questions asked.
“We all have to stand up and say something when we see a parent who is struggling, when we see a parent who is overwhelmed,” Vega said. “We have to, in a non-judgmental way, encourage them through that moment.”
To report abuse, call CPS 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-866-END HARM. They'll direct you to the appropriate local office. You can make those reports anonymously.
Experts say you should err on the side of caution if you're unsure about calling in abuse. Speak up and save a life.