Crisis Nurseries Initiative

"The Crisis Nursery helped me at a time in my life when I did not know what to do. This program is a life saver." - a parent

Through a partnership with five crisis nurseries, some of Illinois' most fragile families, many whom experience crisis due to violence, family dysfunction, medical emergencies or lost employment, have hope and opportunity. Five IDHS funded nurseries in Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington and Urbana empower families by providing opportunity for stabilization; that first step forward, and support for the many steps that follow.

Care is provided in a licensed facility where state requirements for food preparation, staff-child ratio, health and safety and other licensing requirements are followed. The nurseries work with families who have children under six by providing 24 hour round-the-clock crisis care and children's groups, and by providing home visits, parenting classes, parent support groups, crisis counseling, and referrals to after care services. The strategy is to build a community-based support system that:

  • Increases family stability, helping families during an immediate crisis and eliminating the risks for children during the crisis. Eight-five percent of child abuse fatalities occur with children under the age of six, underscoring their vulnerability and the urgent need for safe havens and family respite support.
  • Prevents high-risk children and families from entering the foster care system.
  • Improves employment stability/job retention for welfare-to-work families when child care emergencies arise that threaten a parent's ability to report to work dependably.
  • Strengthens families who are coping with mental illness, substance abuse, physical impairment, and other significant risks that jeopardize their children.
  • Improves recovery for substance abusing mothers by providing stable care for the drug exposed children so that the mother's treatment may commence or continue.
  • Increases safety for children in homes to prevent trauma in families suffering from domestic abuse.
  • Assists homeless families in efforts to achieve stability.