SPOKANE, Wash – In the wake of the recent death of an 18-month-old in Spokane, the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery is speaking out about resources available for parents who feel overwhelmed or struggling.
"It's truly devastating," said Executive Director Amy Knapton. "There's no excuse for losing a child in our community to something violent like this. It's an unnecessary action, it's an unnecessary outcome for a baby."
Knapton told KHQ one of the biggest things for parents to remember is when you feel like you're at a breaking point, take a minute to step back and calm down. Call a friend or family member, or even the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery's 24-hour hotline at (509) 535-3155.
Even though ‘crisis' is in the name, they'd like to help you long before you get to that point. They offer parental education resources, counseling, and emergency child care for those birth through age 6.
The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery can serve 4,000 kids a year, and are working on upping that number to 5,000 this summer.
However, they had to turn away 3,000 calls for help last year, and that's what scares them.
"My concern, and I think every one of our staff, is when we get that call and we have to say, ‘No,' are they going to be your headline the next day?" Knapton added.
Vanessa Behan does ‘triage' the calls they get, in an effort to take in the kids who are at the highest-risk.
This month marks the Nursery's 7th annual "Our Kids, Our Business" campaign, aimed not only at abused and neglected kids, but also helping all kids from birth on have a safe home, tools for success in school, and other necessities.
Vanessa Behan does serve families from North Idaho as well, and there's another local resource called the "Children's Village" in Coeur D'Alene. It can be reached at (208) 667-1189.