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St. Joseph Family Center will its close doors on Sept. 30

As of Friday, Sept. 30, St. Joseph Family Center (SJFC) will close its doors after just celebrating 125 years of the Sisters of St. Francis’ service in Spokane.

“The closure is the result of financial and operational challenges for many years,” said Florence Smith, communications director of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.

“For years, we have been challenged with how best to raise sufficient operational funds,” said Florence.  “After lengthy discussion, prayer and discernment, the board of directors of SJFC, with affirmation by the congregational leadership team, made the decision to close the center at the end of its fiscal year.”

Many people seeking the counseling center’s services cannot afford the counseling.  About 50 percent of those served are on state insurance.  The Affordable Care Act made it possible for the uninsured to have mental health coverage, she said, but rates paid under the act by the state insurances do not cover the costs of providing these services.

St. Joseph’s started as an orphanage in the 1890s and cared for children for 40 years.  In the 1970s, Washington State changed requirements for caring for orphans, requiring that they live in group homes and that siblings live together in small buildings.  The facility was adapted to meet those guidelines.  In 1982, the state changed from supporting children’s homes to foster homes.

At that time, St. Joseph’s became a counseling center.  SJFC has provided counseling for couples, families and teens, as well as spirituality programs at the Franciscan Place since 1987. 

Although its future has not been decided, the FSP plans to sell the property.  There will be a closing ritual in late summer, offering individuals a chance to come and walk the grounds one last time in late summer, tentatively on August 20.

For information, call 610-558-7726 or email

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