Sally’s House remains a place of refuge during Coronavirus pandemic

Apr 30, 2020

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, The Salvation Army of Spokane’s Sally’s House continues to serve children in crisis 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Sally’s House is Eastern Washington’s only emergency foster care placement program for children, ages 2-12, who have been delivered by law enforcement and CPS due to abuse, neglect or criminal activity.    

Sally’s House can hold up to 20 children at one time while social workers seek foster homes for these precious lives.     

During these unprecedented days, and with the closure of all schools, staff responsibilities have grown to include not only 24/7 behavioral, emotional and physical support, but in-house schooling, as well.

Program manager Becky Hoogstad says that “we are working with the staff and teachers from each child’s school, and following tailored curriculum, to ensure that each child thrives during this time.”

She adds, “we are utilizing the facilities offered on campus, including the library, playground and gymnasium, with social distancing measures in place to keep the children’s days filled with activity.”

One child at Sally’s House, Steven, is not new to the program and has had a history of suicidal thoughts.   Initially, this 11-year-old boy came to the program with his siblings, but they all found foster homes.  Unfortunately, Steven’s behavior has made it difficult to locate a long-time foster family.

He’s been profoundly hurt and has chosen to lash out at others.  However, at Sally’s House, the staff has united to show Steven that he is safe and loved - for maybe the first time in his life.  The staff works with his mental health counselor, teacher, social worker and school counselor, to ensure that his needs are being met as best as possible. 

Presently, despite being placed at Sally’s House for no longer than 15 days, Steven is still waiting for foster parents after three months.  However, there is hope, as his time on this campus is finally showing some promise.  Becky reports that the staff is slowly seeing the reward of their patience, genuine kindness, mercy and compassion for Steven. 

“He smiles now. He talks about the future with an expectation that was not there before. He tells us when he is thinking about hurting himself or ending his life; agreeing quickly to make the call to his counselor,” she said.  “He exhibits trust where he can. And he lets himself have fun. Whether it is video games or arts and crafts in the multi-purpose room, he now lets his guard down throughout the day to just be a kid. This might seem like a small victory, but at Sally’s House we know that all hope is worth celebrating.”     

This small victory in Steven’s life is also due to supportive donors that have helped keep Sally’s House open  24/7, 365 days a year.  Contributions to Sally’s House help give hope to children like Steven.  For more info, or to give a tax-deductible financial gift, please visit www.makingspokanebetter.org.


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