"Asking for help is a sign of strength"
November 20, 2020 8:37 AM   Subscribe

In Illinois, USA, Crisis Nursery creates an "Island of Safety" dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing 24-hour emergency care for children and support to strengthen families in crisis. Crisis Nursery is the only emergency-based child care facility in Champaign County that is open 24 hours, 365 days a year for the entire community to access with no fees or income eligibility. posted by brainwane (11 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I am glad to hear something like this exists.

My wife an I were just talking aboutthis case out of Florida. We are lucky to have each other, plus some family close by when we need help, but can't imagine being totally unsupported like this woman probably was, with no good options but to dump the baby at your ex's girlfriends mom when you are losing it.
posted by CostcoCultist at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2020

This is great! I also have dreamed of having accessible (i.e. more widespread and free/sliding scale) supported living communities for families where a parent is dealing with addiction or mental health issues. For me to support that though, we would have to show we were addressing systemic issues in mental health itself (diagnostic methods that are outdated and over emphasis biological determinism rather than plasticity and environmental impacts on health and wellbeing- disparities is both diagnosis and treatment options based on poverty/race). We already use very punitive and judgmental methods to help "families in crisis" since the current social services systems are rooted in belief systems and prejudices of the people who made them.

Instead of separating families when parents are in a crisis that could be resolved (ie the whole point of the foster system supposedly) keeping the family together during treatment and getting the family access to resources makes more sense than traumatizing the whole family in a separation that itself will worsen PTSD, mental illness, and addiction issues. If the goal is actually they will heal in a short amount of time- separating the family will damage the parents health and ability. If the parent has done something so horrible they are completely unsafe (ie serious physical/sexual or intense psychological abuse) and need to be in prison for crimes they've committed- it seems like doing a permanent adoption- with a shared coparenting option for parents who demonstrated they've recovered after many years would make more sense. Although I'm also a fan of allowing kids to decide on a group home option- since abuse is all too common in foster and foster to adopt too.

Obviously the other issue is that we should basically have housing first policies and free housing, food, trauma care, and addiction services available for people in need.

*Just opinions of an adoptee with biological family who have a lot of trauma and addiction issue and have seen the damage of foster and family separation in my family, and in participation with adoptee and foster alumni reform communities for 20 years.
posted by xarnop at 9:16 AM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

These are not uncommon in Illinois -- we also have them in Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington, and, of course, Chicago. They are really good programs! I worked with an organization that provided financial support to the one in Peoria, and had a couple of friends employed there. I believe Illinois's are the oldest in the US (existing as private charities before government support), but they exist in other states as well -- I know they exist in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. (I'm sure they must exist in more states than that but those are the states near me that were always at the same conferences.)

But a lot of parents are afraid to use them, because they're afraid they'll end up entangled with DCFS (child services). Middle-class families are afraid of the stigma of having to resort to a crisis nursery, even when the crisis nurseries are explicit that their services aren't income-restricted. To solve that, we'd probably need high-quality universal early childhood care available, with centers providing that regular daycare for working parents also having extra capacity for drop-ins and overnights.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

Oh, PS, if your hospital offers you free formula samples and you don't want them, take them anyway and donate them to your local crisis nursery, they always need formula. Also when you buy a huge box of size 2 diapers and your baby has a growth spurt into size 3 when you're only five diapers in, donate the rest of the box to the crisis nursery.

And when you're clearing out baby equipment or clothing, check with local crisis nurseries and domestic violence shelters to see if they have needs you can fulfill. Lack of access to formula, diapers, baby clothes, and things like cribs and high chairs and car seats (although you usually can't donate those) is one of the major reasons women with young children stay in abusive relationships, and the more of that DV shelters can provide, the more women are willing to take the leap and leave.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:50 AM on November 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

CC, that Florida story made me so sad...they are *charging* that poor woman? She was suicidal and out of it, and took the baby to the closest thing to a safe place. She could have left him in a dumpster. Many have. She was clearly desperate and mentally unwell.
posted by emjaybee at 10:18 AM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Eyebrows McGee, are they related at all to the Crisis Pregnancy Centers around that area? Maybe they just share a name? I see they have a page in their contributors for Jimmy John Liautaud, and he certainly brings in some politics.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 10:23 AM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

How amazing this place exists. I went through the online tour to see how amazing the facility is, and how welcoming it must seem to little humans.

And then I saw the cots on the floor in the bedrooms. How absolutely heart wrenching that they are so over subscribed to be reduced to cots on the floor for children in need of a safe place. Cots on the floor are wonderful for daycare rest times, or say in a disaster shelter. But to think that as a society we can't even manage to have enough real beds or cribs for babies and children in crisis is a damning indictment of how badly we are falling to protect our literally most defenseless members.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

"Eyebrows McGee, are they related at all to the Crisis Pregnancy Centers around that area?"

Absolutely not. The crisis nurseries are a home-grown solution to families needing support, part of Illinois's long history of innovation in social work and community support, and are supported by local groups. Crisis nurseries in Illinois have deep roots in the community and have four or more decades service to their communities.

Crisis pregnancy centers are anti-abortion whackadoos parachuted in from out of town within the last ten years, that don't even provide the services/support them claim to provide; they promise diapers and cribs and whatnot, and once they convince you not to have an abortion, they basically drop you from their services. (I mean on the plus side since they're not connected to the community their reach is limited?)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:03 PM on November 20, 2020 [8 favorites]

I've donated many times to this very Crisis Nursery, via the Marching Illini Sousaphones, who run a 5K with their instruments to raise funds for charity.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:13 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, Jimmy John Liautaud is a huge donor to a LOT of central Illinois causes, I wouldn't read anything into that. They own thousands of acres of farmland in the area and are generous donors to the communities in the area, especially college towns, I assume because that's where he made his fortune -- starting sandwich shops at downstate Illinois colleges and universities.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

St. Louis also has crisis nurseries. In the before times, I volunteered there and loved it.

They are doing good work.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:27 PM on November 20, 2020

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