“My mommy has been hurt,” a 3-year-old girl cried, as she sat on her mom’s lap in the cozy living room of Children’s Home + Aid’s Crisis Nursery.

Her mom had called the Crisis Nursery in a panic after her boyfriend became violent. She needed a safe place to stay with her three young daughters while she figured out her next steps.

She came to the Crisis Nursery, where counselors helped her file a police report. The children were fed and had a quiet, safe place to play and catch their breath while mom worked with our counselors to find safe housing and to secure an order of protection.

The family stayed in the Crisis Nursery until they located permanent housing, where they are doing well today. The Crisis Nursery continues to serve this family, providing respite care for the children and support for the mom as she makes her way out of the abusive relationship and into a future of hope and opportunity.

“With support of our generous donors, the Children’s Home + Aid Crisis Nurseries in Bloomington and Rockford provided emergency care and support to 208 families, including 321 children in 2016 alone,” Nancy Ronquillo, president and CEO said. “However, for every family we were able to serve, we had to turn away another three due to a lack of capacity. That is a tragedy.”

Children’s Home + Aid’s two crisis nursery programs are part of a national network of nurseries established by the Crisis Nursery Congressional Act of 1986 to provide holistic prevention and intervention services to families with young children, who are in crisis. The goal of the program is threefold: keep children safe, reduce family stress and ultimately strengthen the family.

“Our doors are open 24 hours a day to provide respite care for stressed parents,” Lisa Pieper, regional vice president of Children’s Home + Aid said. “We connect parents to long-term resources that help bring stability to the family.”

How You Can Help

“Donors and volunteers play a vital role in our program,” Lisa Pieper continued. “Donors provide funds to keep the program open, and stock our community pantry with essentials such as diapers, formula, school supplies and clothing. Volunteers help with childcare and other tasks in the homes.”

For more information about volunteering, visit www.childrenshomeandaid.org/volunteer, or to make a gift in support of the Crisis Nursery program, please visit www.childrenshomeandaid.org/donate.