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frequently asked questions

If you have additional questions please contact the Nursery directly. There is always someone here to answer your call.

1. Can children of any age come to the Nursery?

The Nursery shelters children newborn through age six. If families have children seven or older, our Crisis Advocates help the family problem-solve to identify where those children might be able to go. Sometimes there are friends or family who can take an older child, but not the younger ones.

2. How do families hear about you?

Families hear about the Nursery through word of mouth, agency referral processes, resource publications, hospitals, medical professionals and the media. The Nursery also distributes brochures and posters throughout the community.

3. How often can parents use Nursery services?

Just as a crisis or emergency has no limit, the Nursery does not place a limit on the number of hours or days a family may use our services. However, we do have a 72-hour flexible maximum for any one stay. This means that a child can stay with us for up to three consecutive days at any one time, depending on the crisis situation. The average length of stay is eight hours and we often see families multiple times per month. Our respites are based on the needs of the family in crisis and are planned through our Assistant Director.

4. What do you consider a crisis?

The families who use our services define the crisis. The Nursery does prioritize crisis situations in order to always be responsive to the crisis that has the highest risk to the child.

5. How do you ensure that parents are using your services correctly?

The Nursery will always error on the side of the child's safety.  However, if we feel a parent is not using our services correctly, we meet with them to help them find more appropriate options. Our staff is well trained to ask the right questions.

6. Does DCFS place children here?

We are not a foster care agency and DCFS does not place children here. They do refer open family cases that may need extra help to our Parent-Child Interaction groups. DCFS will also refer families to the Nursery if they feel our care will assist the family in meeting their goals.

7. Where do you refer families who may need housing, food, or clothing?

Our Crisis Advocates have an extensive list of local agencies and services that can provide assistance. We do give out baby food, clothes and diapers to our clients in need.

8. What do you do if you feel that it is not safe for the children to go home with the parents when they come to pick up their children?

If the Crisis Advocate is concerned when a parent comes to pick up the child, they will approach the parent with their concerns and offer a longer stay so the parent can take care of the difficulty. If the child is not being abused or neglected, we must release the child into the parent's custody.

9. What happens if the Nursery suspects abuse or neglect of a child?

The Nursery staff are mandated reporters and must report any abuse or neglect to the DCFS hotline.

10. If a report is made what happens to the children?

DCFS determines whether to take the report and investigate. If the report is founded, the court will determine whether the child remains home with follow-up as an ‘in-home’ case or goes into foster care.

11. Where do you get the money to support your programs?

Crisis Nursery is fortunate to have diverse funding sources. 68% of our budget comes from private sources including individuals, businesses, faith communities, schools, organizations, clubs and fundraisers. The remaining 32% of our budget comes from five government sources. Many in-kind donations of diapers, clothing, and cleaning and office supplies enable us to focus our budget on keeping the Nursery open. Our beautiful landscaping is provided and maintained by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners.

12. What is your relationship to Presence Covenant Medical Center?

For the past 13 years, Presence Covenant Medical Center has generously supported Crisis Nursery with in-kind donations. The contribution for fiscal year 2012 was valued at approximately $35,500. Since 1999, this amount totals approximately $450,000. This in-kind support includes: land rental fees, maintenance, snow removal, lawn care, utility expenses, laundry, meals, meal preparation/delivery, etc. Although Crisis Nursery is not a subsidiary of Presence Covenant Medical Center, they are a very valued partner in our mission. For more information about the Nursery's history with PCMC, click here.

13. How many employees do you have?

The Nursery has the equivalent of 20 full-time employees, many of whom have part-time schedules to best fill the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year schedule of services to children. We also have a list of substitutes and we schedule volunteers to assist the Safe Children Program staff.

14. What are the qualifications of the staff?

Our staff and volunteers are trained extensively through our own specifically-developed adult-child interaction philosophy and training. Our in-service training focuses on social and emotional development, challenging behaviors, transitions, health issues and cultural diversity issues. All staff and volunteers meet DCFS licensing standards. Please note our job descriptions located in the “Safe Children” section of the site.

15. How do staff and volunteers handle children when they “act out”?

The Nursery has developed a training program that focuses on positive, accepting, non-shaming methods to re-direct the child’s attention and provide alternatives to unacceptable behavior patterns. These methods are also shared with parents.

16. Do you accept gently used clothing and toys?

We accept donations of diapers, formula, snacks, small equipment, new toys and gently used children’s clothing. We cannot accept stuffed animals and used toys due to health and hygiene issues. Please consider our needs & wish list and donation policies when bringing items to the Nursery. Thank you for your donation to Crisis Nursery.

17. Do children go to school while they are staying at the Nursery?

Due to the ages of children we serve (birth through six years old), those staying with us are typically not in school. However, when needed we work with school districts to coordinate services for the children. This is managed on a case-by-case basis.