Sally’s House: a safe haven for kids
by Christy Markham –
Drug busts, domestic violence, sex offenders, abuse, and neglect. We hear the stories on the news every day. Since May of 2002, the children caught in the middle of these tragedies come to the safety and security of the Spokane Corps’ Sally’s House, the first and only emergency foster care receiving program in the state of Washington.
Children ages 2 to 12 in need of emergency shelter and care are brought here by Child Protective Services or law enforcement and stay for a temporary period until the most appropriate foster care placement is found or until it is safe for them to return home.
Josh came to Sally’s House with his 4-year-old brother this year. His mother was so addicted to methamphetamines that she ended up putting her entire family into a situation of homelessness and finally had her children taken away when they no longer had a place to stay or food to eat. His dad had already left the family because of his wife’s drug use and was mentally unable to deal with what she had done to them.
When Josh and his brother arrived, they immediately seemed relieved. They were given a warm bath, clean clothes, and a hot meal. But it only got better. When Josh found out about the different activities that he could do while at Sally’s House, he flashed the biggest smile you can possibly imagine.
Each day, Josh got to go to his own school, then come back to Sally’s House to receive homework tutoring in the computer learning center, play his favorite games in the game room, eat dinner, swim in the pool for an hour, take a bath, and watch a movie–all before his 9:00 bed time. And that’s not all–Josh also received on-site counseling, went on field trips, played sports in the gym, and became friends with other kids who were also dealing with painful family situations. Many would be surprised at how much of a load a little 8-year-old child can carry when living in dysfunction and chaos. Josh was used to taking care of himself and his little brother. He was used to having to worry. But at Sally’s House, Josh was surrounded by adults who wanted to care for him…and he respoinded to that wiht such gratitude.
Josh and his brother stayed at Sally’s House for 82 days. Their dad had been unable to care for them at the time of their placement because of his emotional state and because he worked graveyard shifts. He was put on a plan for reunification that included medication, parenting classes, a place to live, and a new job. He successfully met these requirements during the time the children were at Sally’s House and they were reunited! Sally’s House provided the safety and stability that Josh needed during a very difficult time.