Yolo Crisis Nursery


The mission of the Yolo Crisis Nursery is to provide early intervention services to nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents and preserve families.

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Address:1477 Drew Ave., Ste 103
Davis, CA 95618
County or Parish:Yolo County
Primary NTEE:Human Services 
Sub NTEE:Family Services 
Executive Director:Heather Sleuter
Contact Email:hsleuter@yolocrisisnursery.org
Primary Phone:530-758-6680
Fax:530-757-7344
Website:http://www.yolocrisisnursery.org
The Nursery was founded in 2001 as a child-abuse prevention program at a social services agency in Davis. In 2015, it became an independent nonprofit, addressing these stark and stubborn facts:
- California has the highest number of reported child abuse and neglect victims in the nation.
- Yolo County's problem is among the worst in the state: In 2014-15 in Yolo, about 7 children per 1,000 were victims of abuse or neglect. About half of them were age 5 or under.
- Almost 9 times out of 10, a parent is the abuser.

Many Yolo County children and families face dire challenges. Some examples: poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, psychiatric issues or other serious circumstances. During a crisis of that sort, many families lack quality child care and a safe place for their kids, the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community.
Without a safe haven, children can pay a price. For some, it's maltreatment. Short of abuse, many children - particularly among the 20 percent of Yolo children living in poverty - suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) from toxic stress. Like victims of abuse, they benefit from early intervention programs that put them on a path to success in school and life.

Without a safe place for kids, society also pays a price. In the wake of abuse or ACEs, costs mount in providing services for mental health issues, medical care, child welfare and special education. Productivity is lost and a measurable burden is placed on our criminal justice and prison systems.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery's overarching goal is to prevent abuse and mitigate trauma. We provide nurturing care for kids from birth through age 5. Crisis childcare is available 24/7 and 365 days a year. (In 2015, we took in a homeless child on Christmas Day.) The staff is specially trained to recognize and address trauma in young children. Our services are voluntary and free to families.

Just an important as offering childcare, we work together with parents toward a shared goal: Resolving the problems that brought them to our door. We empower them but also make assistance available for 12 months. In a third program, we provide ongoing childcare for infants and toddlers in families transitioning out of crisis.

If Nursery services were not available, we believe Yolo County's child abuse statistics would be even worse. Since 2001, the Nursery has served over 3,800 children with a 98 percent success rate of keeping children (ages birth to 5) out of the Child Welfare system. Families stayed whole and became stronger. Children were less likely to become troubled teens. The cycle of abuse was broken.
Yolo Crisis Nursery's most pressing need is to continue to build a sustained financial base from which to operate. Just two years ago, we were threatened with closure when the Nursery's host agency, EMQ FamiliesFirst, left Yolo County. Thanks to overwhelming community support, the Nursery remained open and transitioned to becoming an independent nonprofit (501c3) organization.

The Nursery finished 2015-16, its first full year as a stand-alone nonprofit, with a balanced budget. We are taking steps to build our funding base and reserves, and to reinstate program components that were reduced or eliminated during the transition. In addition, we need support to purchase equipment (computers, copier, etc.) and services (i.e., marketing/outreach) to operate effectively.

Our primary need is to build a solid base of annual unrestricted support to meet the personnel and operating costs of our programs. Our operating (non-personnel) cost for the current fiscal year $183,000, while personnel costs total $347,000.

Secondarily, in 2017, the Nursery is beginning a long-range planning process to strategically build its program and resources and assess the feasibility of owning its own facility. We have operated from a rented residential home since the Nursery was established in 2001. While the house is a safe, accessible and nurturing place for children and families, it is small and costly to rent. As the scope of a capital campaign is determined, the support of institutional funders, organizations and individual donors will be needed to purchase a new home in a location and space best suited to serve our children and families. The cost and extent of a capital campaign feasibility study is to be determined.

Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Program support for emergency childcare and wrap-around services for parents and guardians.
  2. Funding: Unrestricted - Unrestricted support for all areas of the organization to build our base of operation.
  3. Technology - Computer equipment such as laptops, a high volume copier and printer.
  4. Space: Office or Other - Support for a feasbility and planning study to assess the overall size, structure and location for the Nursery, which has outgrown its current home.
  5. In-Kind Donations - Inkind donations of diapers, clothing, toys and other supplies are always needed by the Nursery.
Dr. Samrina Marshall, a pediatrician and member of the Yolo Crisis Nursery's Board of Directors, tells this story:

Once when I dropped off holiday donations, I came inside the Nursery and was so impressed by the staff's attentive, affectionate care. Looking into the eyes of these young children, I saw fear and pain mixed with a child's ever-trusting resilient nature. If ever there's a time to intervene with warmth and kindness, it's during that immediate time of crisis.

Children of this age group are the most likely to be victims of abuse, and yet fortunately they are usually quite resilient if intervention is swift and nurturing. Families can be restored and ongoing abuse averted with support, connection to resources and services.

It's often that targeted, critically time-sensitive, micro-support that can make all the difference. The mission, vision and values of the Nursery couldn't be more relevant.

As a staff and board, we pledge to the community that in 2017, we will strive to provide the best possible "swift and nurturing intervention" to make all the difference for young children and families in our community.