Forum seeks to end child abuse, increase affordable childcare in Spokane

The death of 10-month-old Caiden Henry last February, who police say was murdered by his babysitter, has led a call to change within the Spokane community aimed at preventing child abuse in the Inland Northwest.

In what has nearly been a year since Caiden’s death, his family hasn’t stopped pushing for more help for parents in need of 24-hour child care services.

Kxly 4’s Robyn Nance emceed “It Shouldn’t Hurt to be a Child in Spokane” Tuesday night, a forum focusing on ending child abuse in Spokane County and surrounding areas. The forum was a way to talk about child abuse prevention and also solutions for affordable childcare.

“We have children that deserve the right to grow up and get a favorite color, start the first day of kindergarten,” said Kitara Johnson, Caiden’s aunt.

The forum welcomed a diverse panel of experts from local law enforcement officers to licensed childcare providers.

“When you have an infant and you’re just starting out in your career, it can cost around $1,000 for full-time infant care a month,” said Spokane City Council Member Candace Mumm. “$1,000. And that’s when you can least afford it, especially when you’re a single mom.”

Photos of Caiden were hung on both sides of the stage at Excelsior Youth Center where the forum took place.

“This is not about one child,” said Johnson. “This is all the Caiden’s, the ones we don’t hear about.”

There are no simple answers to the questions asked Tuesday, but the discussions can help bring solutions one step closer. A similar forum is planned for late April.