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Care Net opens facility to help pregnant women


Rachel Harris stands in the new Care Net facility's "boutique," which is filled with items for children and babies. ­– Scott Hunter photo

An organization dedicated to "serving people facing unplanned pregnancy and related sexual issues" has opened an office in Grand Coulee.

Funded by local churches, Care Net opened its fourth office Aug. 1 at 402 Burdin Boulevard in Grand Coulee. It also operates centers in Omak, Oroville and Brewster.

All services are free.

The effort is funded through local churches, and services are delivered in a completely non-judgmental manner, said Rachel Harris, the facility's only staffer, who works part time.

"Our goal is to be here for them through that whole journey," she said.

Harris said the organization's focus is on education, but also support for young women who face what can be a scary situation full of unknowns.

If a teenager comes in, wondering if she's pregnant, Harris said, she would give her a pregnancy test kit and sit with her as she took the test.

A host of other options for educating her on her next steps and choices are available, including peer counseling, helping her tell her parents and giving her information on her options.

"We don't discourage (abortion), Harris said, but "we want them to go into it knowing what the process is. We're here to educate."

That includes education about all contraception methods and on parenting.

Care Net offers rewards for getting that education. There is a library of videos. And support is available for young parents all the way into their child's preschool years. Rewards come in the form of points their clients can redeem in "the boutique," a room filled with items for babies and children, all donated to the program.

Harris, who moved to Nespelem from Tonasket about a year ago, said she and her husband both serve as chaplains in the Okanogan County Juvenile Facility.

"There's not much that's going to shock me," she said, emphasising the non-judgemental nature of the service. "I've had my own history."

She said new volunteer recruits are also trained in that approach. She's had four locals pick up information on volunteering so far.

Harris also noted Care Net is always taking donations and will accept top-quality used items for the boutique.

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