About Us

Playing with Wooden Alphabets

The Center for Crisis Nurseries is a single source to connect, share and learn from professionals and people committed to protecting children and helping families facing crisis and trauma.  Providence House launched the Center for Crisis Nurseries in 2020 to provide resources to support crisis nurseries in connecting with each other and to help crisis nurseries start up and improve their outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Crisis Nursery?


Crisis Nurseries offer emergency shelter services to children with a primary focus to prevent child abuse and neglect. A Crisis Nursery provides short-term care while their parent or guardian addresses a family crisis or is engaged in their own services elsewhere. In most cases, Crisis Nursery services are voluntary, meaning the children remain in the custody of their parent. By providing 24/7 support for children, Crisis Nurseries help strengthen and preserve families and can prevent foster care placements or long term child welfare involvement. While “Crisis Nursery” is the most common term for this type of program, some other names used to refer to these services are “Crisis Respite” or “Relief Nursery.”




How old are children who stay in Crisis Nurseries? How long do they stay there?


The length of stay and age range supported in a Crisis Nursery can vary based on state licensing requirements or individual programs. Most Crisis Nurseries have a primary focus on children newborn through 5 years old, although some may serve children through 18 years of age. Crisis Nurseries typically focus on brief admissions of less than 72 hours, although some programs may support children for up to 90 days or longer and provide more intensive services to families during that time.




Why do families use crisis nurseries?  Do parents stay in crisis nurseries too?


While crisis nurseries offer support to parents or guardians, a defining feature of this model is providing 24/7 shelter and care for children. Parents and guardians who use crisis nursery services may be facing a range of crisis situations which make them unable or unavailable to safely care for their children while they address their family’s needs. They may be addressing their own inpatient medical, mental health or substance abuse services, or are incarcerated. Families might be struggling with meeting the family’s basic needs including securing safe, affordable housing or employment, or are overwhelmed and lack other community or social support.




What do Crisis Nurseries do to support children?


Crisis Nurseries focus on meeting children’s basic needs in home-like environments, which includes providing each child with their own bed or crib, healthy meals and snacks, age-appropriate activities and developmental enrichment. Professional social workers or other specialists contribute to the long-term wellness of children by ensuring children are connected to school, therapies, or other community based supports.




What do Crisis Nurseries do to support parents?


Individual crisis nursery programs offer different services to families based on other services available in their community and the needs of families that utilize their services. Family Preservation Crisis Nurseries typically provide case management and referrals to other community-based services, parent education and support, trauma-informed care, and aftercare services once the parent and child are reunited.




What is the impact of a Crisis Nursery program?


The immediate difference Crisis Nursery programs have on their community is providing a safe place for children to stay in order to prevent child abuse and neglect. Family Preservation Crisis Nursery programs also focus on strengthening and preserving families and offer services that help parents and guardians to enhance parenting skills and achieve and maintain stability. Ultimately the goal is to prevent foster care or further public systems involvement, reduce instances of adverse childhood experiencing, and promote long-term child and family wellbeing.




What is the Center for Crisis Nurseries?


The Center for Crisis Nurseries is a single source to connect, share and learn from professionals and people committed to protecting children and helping families facing crisis and trauma. Providence House launched the Center for Crisis Nurseries in 2020 to provide resources to support Crisis Nurseries in connecting with each other and to help Crisis Nurseries start up and improve their outcomes.




I want to start a new Crisis Nursery program in my community, how do I get started?


As an experienced partner, who has been there and helped others to get started, we can assist you in creating a plan that's right for you. We offer personalized coaching and consulting support. Click here to view our services or fill out this brief survey to share more information about the support you’d like to receive.




How do I connect to other Crisis Nurseries?


As part of the Center for Crisis Nurseries, we have created a welcoming online forum where ideas, collaboration, and connection flourish. Click here to join our Crisis Nursery Community, where you will be able to network with peers from across North America.