Yolo Crisis Nursery: Serving More Families Than Ever

By Heather Sleuter
Special to the company

Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has highlighted the growing number of vulnerable and at-risk children and families in Yolo County. Last year, Yolo Crisis Nursery provided emergency respite care and triage resources to 67% more families. This is the largest number in our 20-year history serving Yolo County and a strong indication that too many families are unable to meet the most basic needs of their children.

The mission of the crèche is to protect children and preserve families. To do this, we offer trauma-informed respite care as well as screening for children’s development and health. Equally important are our comprehensive services that ensure families’ basic needs are met and that they receive continued support as they move towards stability. This approach continues to bear fruit, as evidenced by the 99% of our respite families who do not participate in child protection services.

A mom customer recently shared her trip story. It’s a story filled with love, determination and a lot of hard work. Her story is powerful not only for what she has been able to accomplish for herself and professionally, but also for her selfless desire to give back to our community.

“A year ago, I found myself fleeing a situation of domestic violence that left my family homeless. From day one at Yolo Crisis Nursery, I was greeted with love and support. My client browser was amazing. She put me in touch with the resources for everything I needed: clothing, food, transport, accommodation and advice.

“Coming from a domestic violence situation, I was lost. My Client Navigator helped me identify a strength in me that I didn’t know I had. We have made a plan for my life. With the help of Yolo Crisis Nursery I have found permanent housing and am now a Registered Practical Nurse (CNA) studying to become a Registered Professional Nurse (LVN). It brings me one step closer to my goal of becoming a registered nurse. I could not have accomplished all of this without the support of the nursery.

“My son excelled in nursery care. He has accomplished so many milestones thanks to the wonderful staff at the nursery. He is more sociable and his speech and motor skills have also improved. Not to mention that the nursery staff even helped me with toilet training! I am grateful that our community has this incredible resource. I am now able to provide a safe and stable home for my family. I was even able to buy a used car. I am living proof of the great impact that the Yolo Crisis crèche can have on a family in need.

This mom’s journey illustrates the tremendous resilience of the children and families we serve. Sadly, there are still many families in turmoil due to the pandemic who face the increased burden of poverty, unemployment, mental health issues and food insecurity. Our staff continue to work tirelessly to prevent crises from turning into the devastation of family separation. Last year alone, the crèche welcomed 1,018 children and provided 3,874 care packages to young families at risk.

To learn more about the impact of the crèche on our community, I invite you to read our impact report 2020-21. It is available online at www.yolocrisisnursery.org/impactleadership. As you turn its pages, you will see for yourself the enormous impact we have had on the most vulnerable families in the county.

We could not serve children and families like we do without our extended family of donors and friends Yolo Crisis Nursery and we are deeply grateful for your support. On behalf of all of us at the crèche and the children and families we serve, thank you!

We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and look forward to serving our Yolo County community for at least 20 more! Donations are essential in building our programs and expanding our resources to meet the growing number of children and families in crisis with urgent needs. By supporting Yolo Crisis Nursery, you can be proud to know that you are helping children and families lead healthier, more stable and more productive lives. To learn more, to volunteer with the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, or to donate, please visit www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

– Heather Sleuter is the Executive Director of Yolo Crisis Nursery.

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