* A parent with a current mental health crisis.
* Family violence.
* Chemical dependency.
* Child behavior problems.
* Housing difficulties.
* Medical need of a family member.
* Parent's inability to cope.
* Child care crisis because of employment.
* Minor caretakers.
* Single parents.
* Families living in poverty.
* Inability to locate available child care to allow the caretaker to attend parenting classes, information courses, mental health counseling, etc., to increase family stability.
Basic premise/mission and functions of the program: The mission of the program is to provide a temporary, safe and nurturing environment for children and to offer a resource for parents and caregivers during times of crisis. Families in the Crow Wing County area experiencing crises will have temporary, safe and nurturing environments in which to place their children until they get over the "hump" of family crises.
"The idea for the crisis nursery came from an informal community needs assessment and from a strong desire to reduce the number of child neglect, maltreatment and abuse cases in the area," said Tami Lueck, executive director of Bridges of Hope. "We learned that the Minnesota Children's Trust Fund was awarding three-year grants to unique programs that focus on reducing child abuse and neglect. The need was clearly evident, and we formed a Crisis Nursery Task Force in early 2004 to look at different program models."
"One of the goals is to give parents a safe place to take their children when they have an emergency crisis -- before those parents engage their children in the stress of that crisis," said Lynda Erickson of Crow Wing County Social Services. "From a Social Service perspective, we're hoping The Crisis Nursery significantly reduces the need for the county to become involved at all."
Details about the services: The Crisis Nursery provides the following services.
* Emergency short-term day and/or overnight care for children from birth to age 12, for up to 72 consecutive hours while parents address crisis situations. A 30-day maximum is allowed per child per year.
* An initial assessment to help identify family needs and strengths, and to provide immediate referrals to appropriate agencies -- such as parent support groups, parent education classes, home visiting services, respite child care, emergency food shelves and mental health services -- to prevent child maltreatment and out-of-home placement of children.
* 24-hour phone and service availability.
* Crisis counseling and information.
* Advocacy for children.
Who's involved in providing and implementing the program: Kathy Adams, executive director of Crisis Line and Referral Service, explained the importance of planning and pulling together existing resources in the community to create a caring and effective crisis nursery and child care program. "Crow Wing County residents are so fortunate to have a broad network of services from which to get help to deal with personal and family issues. Rather than focusing on creating a whole new program, we looked at existing organizations and groups of service providers that could work together to make this happen. The Crisis Nursery is the result of that work, and it's an amazing model."
Bridges of Hope will be the primary contact for weekday child-care placements and will work with families.
The Crisis Line is the primary contact for placement in The Crisis Nursery during evenings, weekends and holidays. Parents and guardians are free to contact the hotline 24/7 to talk with someone about family issues in a confidential and anonymous manner.
The Crow Wing County Child Abuse Prevention Council, dedicated to preventing child abuse, will provide funding for The Crisis Nursery, will participate on the Advisory Council for the Nursery, and will be the focal point for receiving community donations of clothing, diapers, etc.
Select licensed child-care providers and shelters will provide safe, nurturing and educational environments for children and will care for the children during hours spent at The Crisis Nursery.
The Minnesota Children's Trust Fund is providing the three-year grant to fund the program.
How can the community help? Our hope is to provide each child staying at The Crisis Nursery with a stuffed animal. In addition, donations of disposable diapers, baby wipes and children's clothing are needed. If you would like to contribute items or financial donations to the program, contact Stacy Brown at 824-1285.
For more information: Contact Kathy Adams, executive director, Crisis Line and Referral Service, at 828-4515 or Bridges of Hope at 825-7682 or 825-4949.
(Spotlight on Children's Mental Health is sponsored by the Crow Wing County Local Advisory Council on Children's Mental Health)
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