Fund Drive Launched to Save Yolo Crisis Nursery

Yolo-nursery-logo-green(Editor’s note: the following is a press release from the Friends of Yolo Crisis Nursery)

The Friends of Yolo Crisis Nursery this week are launching a major fundraising campaign keep the doors of the nursery open beyond its scheduled June 30 closure.

“If we can raise $100,000 by June 15, odds are good that we can save this irreplaceable service,” said Heidy Kellison, a leader of the all-volunteer Friends group. “That’s dependent on finding a new host agency to take over the management, but we’re in talks with several potential candidates and are optimistic one can be secured.”

The Friends have established a donation page at donatenow.networkforgood.org/friendsofYCN. The “One Child – One Day” campaign suggests a tax-deductible donation of $50, which is the average cost of providing a child with one day of protective care in the nursery.

The campaign will officially kick off during an announcement at the Yolo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (April 29). The nursery is on the agenda at 10:30 a.m. Kellison expects a good turnout to show support for the cause.

“This community is not going to let this critical service disappear,” she said. “The risk of child abuse and neglect increase during times of family stress. We have a 97% success rate keeping children out of the child welfare system by providing emergency respite care and giving parents resources and support to resolve their crises. They strengthen their parenting skills and ultimately provide a safe and stable home for their children.“

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is one of only four such facilities in California serving children ages birth to 5. Parents place their children in the nursery on a voluntary basis for as little as a few hours and as long as 30 days while professional staff work to resolve family hardships.

Founded in 2001, the nursery was first managed by the nonprofit FamiliesFirst, which later merged to become EMQ FamiliesFirst. In late March, EMQ announced it will close the nursery. That sent the Friends group, working with other local leaders, into high gear.

“We’re pursuing two tracks at once: fundraising and seeking a new host agency to manage the nursery,” Kellison said. At the same time, the Friends are continuing work on a longer-range proposal for state funding to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the Yolo and Sacramento crisis nurseries. A study in 2004-2006 found considerable reductions in substantiated CPS cases. “If duplicated, a new study would validate the potential of opening nurseries in other California communities,” Kellison said.

The Friends collaborated with state Sen. Lois Wolk, a founder of Yolo’s nursery, on the “Crisis Nursery Project to Reduce Child Abuse.” Her office is shepherding legislation through the Capitol, with the goal of obtaining $2.4 million over two years to study the nurseries in what is being called a pilot project.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the supervisors will be asked to support the project in a letter to the state.

“If adopted in the state budget for 2014-15, the pilot money would come at an opportune time, but this is just one of many avenues of support we’re pursuing,” Kellison said. “The nursery has always survived on multiple funding streams – but the ideal is for the state to provide leadership about what constitutes meaningful child abuse prevention. Nurseries do.”

Kellison acknowledges that her group is confronting an “chicken or egg’ situation. “Potential funders want to know that there is a sustainable plan in place before they give. Potential new host agencies want to know that there is a guarantee of the necessary funding.

“Our focus now is on money in the bank,” she said. “We believe a strong showing of financial support now will go a long way toward bringing in a new host agency. And it will hopefully give the EMQ FamiliesFirst governing body the assurance it needs to keep the nursery open until the transition can take place, probably at year’s end.”

If plans don’t fall into place, though, the Friends are telling donors that contributions made through the Network for Good website will be refunded.

“We won’t keep the money if our efforts don’t result in continued nursery operations,” Kellison said. “But in my mind, that’s unlikely. We’re been hearing from many people and groups who want to help. In fact, if all goes as planned, one major donor may step up at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday.

“This is a community with a heart that is willing to pitch in when needed most,” Kellison said.

For more information or to volunteer with the campaign, email friends ofYCN@gmail.com or call (530) 386-2647.

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17 thoughts on “Fund Drive Launched to Save Yolo Crisis Nursery”

  1. Tia Will

    ” “The nursery has always survived on multiple funding streams”

    For me this is one of the saddest commentaries about our values and priorities as a society. I find it very discouraging that a crisis nursery, which may be all that stands between some infants and children and sometimes lethal abuse by caretakers, is dependent on the euphemistic “multiple funding streams”. What this means is that these organizations have to not only provide care, but also have to scramble to piece together funding form multiple, fragmented sources in order to survive.

    One poster on the Vanguard consistently maintains that it should be the private sector, through its largesse, that supports those in need and that the government should not be “spending our tax dollars” on “handouts”.
    This situation, coupled with the tragic example of the child who recently died allegedly from shaken baby syndrome, and the little girl found dead in the trunk of her mother’s car illustrate that the scope of these problems cannot be left to the generosity of private individuals but must be a priority for our entire society.

    While I fully support donations to this cause, I also support an integrated approach that would provide a steady and reliable source of income to any such project that is demonstrated to decrease incidents of neglect and abuse.

    1. hpierce

      Your sentiments are noted, and worthy of honor. If we start with the assumption that no new City, County, and/or State revenues will occur, what types of services would you see cutting back on, to loosen public funds for this purpose?

      I, for one, believe ‘society’ should spend more on private charity, individual by individual. I think too many have the attitude “I already gave on my 1040 (540, property tax, etc.)”.

  2. Tia Will

    hpierce

    “If we start with the assumption that no new City, County, and/or State revenues will occur, what types of services would you see cutting back on, to loosen public funds for this purpose?”

    I do not start with this as my assumption. If you have ready any of my posts regarding the issue of the minimum wage, you know that I favor a complete restricting of how, as a society we choose to support each of our members.
    I believe that we should should be addressing our social issues in a comprehensive rather that piece meal fashion.
    I favor a model such as the proposed by the Swiss which Don and I have discussed on several threads now.

    I agree with you that it would be absolutely lovely if private charity, individual by individual, covered all of the identified needs. I think the fact that our society in the totally of its existence has never achieved that despite individual, faith based, common interest and business groups, service organization, youth groups, and even major endowments such as that of Bill and Melinda Gates, while all laudable, have not even come close speaks to the inadequacy of this fragmented approach.

    I would favor a unified approach which provides to each individual a calculated amount based on their location and other specific considerations to maintain them at a living standard above the poverty level.

    I realize that that is my extremely long term favored approach. In the shorter term, I would argue for a re-prioritization of both public and private sources of funding so that basic needs such as a safe place to live are given priority in people’s minds over desirable but less critical efforts such as support for new sporting or recreational areas.
    I have been a proponent of youth groups focusing on local projects such as the work of Amigos of which I was a past, and my daughter is a present board member in their establishment of the “back yard” projects instead of solely being focused on out of country trips.
    I am currently, largely because of my association with Robb Davis learning more about how “localist” principles can be used to address the most vulnerable of our citizens. In speaking with community members as part of the campaign, I have heard the phrase “that is a county…or state…or federal issue” all too often. I think that we can and should change our mind set, not to that is someone else’s concern, to “what can I do to help with this issue”.

  3. Tia Will

    OOPS….major typo….

    I favor a complete restricting of how, as a society we choose to support each of our members.

    That should have read “restructuring”

  4. tj

    Kim Suderman, the former director at county mental health, precipitously pulled the plug on Family First’s funding by decertifying the agency before Community Care Licensing finished their evaluation of problems at FF.
    Which County official/board member asked her to do that, we don’t know. We do know the result was loss of funding for the Nursery, an unintended consequence of precipitous overreaction.

    Because the County relies on the Nursery as a social service and the Nursery is most helpful to parents who are experiencing mental health issues, it seems County Social Services and County Mental Health should be funding the Nursery.

    The County admin. caused the funding problem, they ought to be funding the solution.

  5. Tia Will

    tj

    “The County admin. caused the funding problem, they ought to be funding the solution.”

    People, being human, make mistakes often with unforeseen or greater than anticipated consequences.
    It is less important to me who caused the problem than how to correct the problem. I honestly care far more about the welfare of the affected children than I do what fund of money the solution comes out of.
    And, if we had a coherent, unified approach instead of our “multiple revenue streams” it actually wouldn’t matter who made the mistake, the children would still receive their services and not be placed in this precarious situation.

  6. tj

    Tia, It wasn’t really a “mistake”. It was a calculated political and financial attack on an agency which had done a lot of good things.

    When there was a rape in a politically connected facility – by an adult, a staff member, inside the facility – Kim
    Suderman did nothing except hide the problem, even from her agency’s admin staff and doctors.

    If you want to give lots of your money to this cause, go for it! For myself, I expect the county to pick up the pieces of what it broke. It’s fortunate that people are putting lots of energy into fighting for the Nursery.
    I hope the County comes thru with funds.

  7. South of Davis

    Tia wrote:

    > For me this is one of the saddest commentaries about our values and
    > priorities as a society. I find it very discouraging that a crisis nursery,
    > which may be all that stands between some infants and children and
    > sometimes lethal abuse by caretakers, is dependent on the euphemistic
    > “multiple funding streams”.

    Just about everyone wants to help kids in trouble, so we tend to get a lot of groups doing basically the same thing (allowing quite a few people to make a living “helping kids”). I feel sorry for all the people that will lose their jobs if the crisis nursery closes, but there are plenty of people still being paid who will take care of the kids (the cops are not going to leave a 2 year old alone after arresting the kids mom after the crisis nursery closes)…

    1. Tia Will

      South of Davis

      I know that many believe that all of these children get well taken care of. In my experience this is simply not the case. Sure the most egregious thing you could think of, namely leaving a 2 year old alone, will not happen. But what often does happen is that these children get placed in inappropriate foster care situations, or in some cases reunited with family members that are really no better equipped to handle the situation than they were when the child was first removed from the home. Even though there are a number of groups attempting to do this work, the efforts are, as you pointed out often fragmented and insufficient to the need. This I know from working with women for the past 30 + years.

  8. tj

    It should be clarified that the crisis nursery allowed mothers a good safe place to leave their children in times of
    overwhelming stress so that police were not involved: no one arrested, no costs for law enforcement, no jail costs, no burden on the court system, no long term disruption of the family.
    Counseling and health care are provided for by the Nursery. Much better all the way around.

    A recent medical research article noted that the most serious, life long damage, results from removing children
    from their families.

  9. Tia Will

    tj

    “A recent medical research article noted that the most serious, life long damage, results from removing children
    from their families.”

    Unless of course the family is the source of incest or life threatening neglect or abuse .
    I guess the police, social service workers, pediatricians, gynecologists and public health workers see
    much more of this than does most of the public. I personally have performed emergency cesareans for babies whose placenta was shearing off the wall of the uterus due to maternal crack use, have reported on children sometimes themselves abused and sometimes in the company of their obviously physically abused mothers,
    I have pleaded with boards to not return pre teen girls who have been the victims of incest returned to their families only to see them sent back over my objections in the name of family reunification, repeatedly !
    These are societal failures as well as individual failures and i would like to see a comprehensive approach not one pieced together by amateurs, no matter how well intentioned.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I have pleaded with boards to not return pre teen girls who have been
      > the victims of incest returned to their families only to see them sent back
      > over my objections in the name of family reunification, repeatedly !

      I’m just on the outside looking in and have never been in front of a board trying to keep a “pre teen girl” from getting raped by her Dad, but from what I hear (and what I bet Ajay Dev will tell you) the courts, and the community are not big fans of incest with little pre teen girls. If you had even a shred of evidence and cared about the girls leaking this evidence to the community would force the courts hands to do to something. Again I may be wrong (since I have never presented DNA or other evidence to a DA that a little girl is getting raped), but I hard to believe that a court is going to send the little girl home to keep getting raped (and it is rally hard to believe that after “repeatedly !” hearing from a well respected practicing physician that there is evidence of incest that ANYONE would just say “we need family reunification who cares if some sicko is raping his kid”)…

  10. Tia Will

    During my first two years in Southern California there were review boards that were established to which Ob/Gyn doctors served as consultants in cases in which the management of abused adolescent girls were being considered for family reunification or assignment to foster care. These boards consisted of child advocates, lawyers, social workers and probably family law judges although we did not sit with the group but only provided testimony and advice. My chief appointed me to this role during my first year as an attending physician. I admit that I did not last out the year. I simply could not stand the stories of these young girls and some of the outcomes and my chief allowed me to step down and take on other roles in our department.

  11. Tia Will

    “This is a community with a heart that is willing to pitch in when needed most,” Kellison said.”
    ““The County admin. caused the funding problem, they ought to be funding the solution.”

    I think these two comments exemplify the problem with depending upon private donations and charity to fund necessary services. What happens all too often is that someone in an official capacity does something that a potential donor does not like or feel was appropriate which has adverse effects on the care of children. The potential donor then decides that they will no longer support the effort. Those caught in the crossfire are the children who of course had absolutely nothing to do with the action of the official but who will pay the price.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Those caught in the crossfire are the children who of course had absolutely
      > nothing to do with the action of the official but who will pay the price.

      Let’s not forget that if a Mom is in a real bad place and needs someone to take care of her kids she can go to ANY Church, Temple, Mosque, Meeting Hall etc. and they will find a way to help kids in danger. I have never heard of any organized religion that will not find a way to help a kid in trouble…

  12. tj

    It’s important to point out that being removed from family FOR ANY REASON usually results in damage for a lifetime. Removing children and placing them into the homes of strangers shouldn’t be done except as a last resort.

    Children just want the molestation to cease, they rarely want to leave their family.

    No doubt religious groups want to help, and might arrange for a friend of the family to take a child for a short time,
    but generally speaking, religious organizations have to place children in licensed homes/facilities, or a licensed “crisis nursery” — they can’t be placing children just anywhere with people who seem nice. There’s enough molest in licensed homes as it is!
    Think of the danger and liability of placing kids in unlicensed homes.

    I hope we’re all pulling for the Crisis Nursery to get adequate funding without delay.

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