Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php:3) in /home/content/87/7462187/html/SpokaneCares/index.php on line 3
Children and Teens at Risk | Many resources can help in Spokane, WA
At Risk - Children & Youth

When there is a youth in crisis,

there is a family in crisis.

Wonder why the American family has changed,
and the lack of respect for authority is a problem?
 Bad behavior seen among adults today
(family, friends, politicians, athletes, movie / music stars)
trickles down to youth.

  • When we consider the dangers from which children should be protected, we should also include psychological abuse. Parents or other caregivers or teachers or peers who demean, bully, or humiliate children or youth can inflict harm more permanent than physical injury. Making a child or youth feel worthless, unloved, or unwanted can inflict serious and long-lasting injury on his or her emotional well-being and development.  (Kim Painter, “Parents Can Inflict Deep Emotional Harm,” USA Today, July 30, 2012, B8; Rachel Lowry, “Mental Abuse as Injurious as Other Forms of Child Abuse, Study Shows,” Deseret News, Aug. 5, 2012, A3)

  • The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative, according to Marshall Duke, a psychologist at Emory University.  Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Fivush tested this hypothesis, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

    Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?  “The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.

    Psychologists have found that every family has a unifying narrative, he explained, and those narratives take one of three shapes.

    First, the ascending family narrative: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you...”

    Second is the descending narrative:  “Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”

    “The most healthful narrative,”
    Dr. Duke continued, “is the third one. It’s called the oscillating family narrative: ‘Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.’ ”

    Children who have the most self-confidence
    have what Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush call a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.  Decades of research have shown that most happy families communicate effectively. But talking doesn’t mean simply “talking through problems,” as important as that is. Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves. When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence.

    The bottom line:  If you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.   (Source:  The Stories That Bind Us,” by Bruce Feiler, The New York Times, March 15, 2013)

What You Can Do
  • 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 that.

    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 school! 

    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/
  • President Barack H. Obama.  "And so what we should be thinking about, is our responsibility to care for (children), and shield them from harm, and give them the tools they need to grow up, and do everything that they're capable of doing.  This is our first task as a society, keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged.  And their voices should compel us to change.
"…we must do something to protect our communities and our kids…We have to examine ourselves in our hearts, and ask yourselves what is important?  This will not happen, unless the American people demand it.  If parents and teachers, police officers, and pastors, if hunters and sportsman, if responsible gun owners, if Americans of every background stand up and say, enough.  We've suffered too much pain, and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will -- change will come.

"Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will, comes an obligation to allow others to do the same.   We don't live in isolation.  We live in a society, a government for and by the people. We are responsible for each other.

" …when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now, for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give; for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victims to senseless violence each and every day; for all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm.

"Let's do the right thing.  Let's do the right thing for (our children) and for this country that we love so much." 

(President Barack H. Obama, January 16, 2013, speaking of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults, President Obama announced his anti-gun violence plan to curb such violence, and to protect our children.)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

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:

911                  Emergency

363-3333        Child Protective Services (Spokane County),
     8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m./M-F,
     or (800) 562-5624 after 4:30 p.m. and weekends. 

456-2233       Crime Check - report non-emergency suspicious activity                       

838-6596        Crosswalk (teens)

838-4428        First Call for Help (Spokane Mental Health)

                       National Runaway Switchboard
                       1-800-RUNAWAY / 1-800-786-2929

624-7273        SAFeT Response Center

327-5111        Secret Witness   (PO Box 1205, Spokane, WA 99210)

477-2240        Sheriff’s Office

(800) 422-4453       The National Child Abuse Hotline:  (1-800-4-A-CHILD)

         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.)  (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.  Email:  spdtipline@spokanepolice.org   

         535-3155        Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

(866) 363-4276        Washington State's DSHS  (Dept. of Social and Health Services)