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Regional News

New Report On The State Of Women And Children In Spokane County

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A new report highlights the issues women and children face in Spokane County.

The numbers tell a story that organizers hope will spur solutions from area organizations and agencies.

The study was put together by a group called Women Helping Women, a local organization that has developed a philanthropic fund to improve the lives of women and children in Spokane County.

Much of the data came via the Spokane Regional Health District.

Among the findings, 15% of all households in Spokane are living in poverty, 30% of the households led by single mothers. Those mothers, with a couple of children, spend, on average, 57% of their income on housing. The theme is that many of the problems compound as a child gets older.

Another major issue is the increasing cost of child care in Spokane. Stacy Wenzl, who manages the data center for the Spokane Regional Health District, helped compile the report.

“Federal guidelines suggest no more than 7% of income be spent on child care, but, in Spokane, the average is 25%. I know mothers that have decent incomes that struggle to make their child care payments. There are some women paying more for child care than college tuition,” she said.

It’s estimated the county is currently short some 8,000 child care spots. The study suggests children may be left with less than ideal situations for child care and that goes hand in hand with the high child abuse rates in Spokane County, higher than the state or national average. In 2017, there were 6,500 abuse cases for kids under age 17, and 50,000 cases over a 10-year period.

Women Helping Women board member Tamara McGregor says those numbers will be utilized to help secure funding in the form of grants for various organizations that work to solve some of these issues.

“We also wanted this to be a powerful tool for all non-profits in our region to apply for grant funding, maybe apply for grants from outside the area," McGregor said. "Because many of those grants require data, we're hoping non-profits will utilize this, hoping this will keep a conversation going with community leaders, business leaders, and non-profits,” she said.

You can find out more specifics about the study ion the state of women and children in Spokane County on the Women Helping Women website.