In 1990 Youth Service, Inc. pioneered the crisis nursery model in Philadelphia when it established the Sally Watson Crisis Nursery in Germantown. The Crisis Nursery program offers parents, grandparents and other caregivers safe, emergency, short term care for pre-school children at risk of harm or neglect. The crisis nursery model is founded on evidence that parental stress is directly related to child abuse and the centers exist to provide the additional support to the adult caregivers so that they can comfortably take care of activities related to their own and their children’s well being. Parents and caregivers use the Crisis Nursery while managing family and medical emergencies, appointments, court, housing issues or other activities where they are unable to take young children with them. Families also use the Crisis Nursery while searching for work, searching or waiting for regular day care and for respite from the demands of parenting.
Sadly, the Sally Watson Crisis Nursery closed its doors in 2017, but Baring House, located in West Philadelphia, continues to provide 24 hour care each day; and is licensed by PA Department of Human Services.
The Crisis Nursery has a long term impact by strengthening families through connections to community resources and supports, helping parents problem solve.
Services and resources include:
- 24 hour emergency care for children under the age of 6
- Referrals and support for parents in distress
- Referrals to parenting classes and resources to meet the family’s needs
- Links to developmental assessments and services for children
Children attending the crisis nursery receive care and support from trained staff, freshly prepared meals, and developmentally appropriate opportunities for play and learning.