One in six children in Washington state live below the poverty line, a staggering number that still fails to illustrate the individual stories of personal struggle for many families. Take 23-year-old Kendie Jackson, who in 2013 was laid off from her office administration job. She had two sons, the oldest just four years old. For many, this could have been the start of an all-too-common downward spiral. This was not to be Jackson’s story, thanks to her own determination and support from the Children’s Home Society of Washington. Here services like adoption, child counseling, and head start are bolstered by programs for parents, from those needing a little help getting back on their feet to those fighting addiction and working to regain custody of their kids. CHSW helps 30,000 children annually.
“I knew Children’s Home Society as the place with a sign out front giving away diapers,” Jackson remembers. But when she finally decided to drop in three years go, she found so much more: early learning programs for her sons and a job training and placement program for her. It wasn’t long before she landed a job running a dental office.
Children’s Home Society of Washington president and CEO Sharon Osborne understands that in order to help children, you have to set parents up for success and break the cycle of poverty and trauma. “We are trying to get ahead of the problem,” Osborne says, focusing on “how trauma for a child impacts them for the rest of their lives.”