August 28, 2022 Posted by Dr. Joan Smith-Maclean

Helping Families Become Safe and Secure 

Over the last year, the Yolo Crisis Nursery saw a 14.5% increase in the number of families impacted by domestic violence and a 20% increase in those at risk for homelessness. Inflation on essentials like rent, gas, food, and childcare has made it difficult for parents to provide for their families. 

Since opening our doors in 2001, we have seen, firsthand, the tremendous resiliency of the children and families we serve as they cope with the intensifying burdens of poverty, housing and food insecurity, mental health challenges, and domestic violence.  

The recently released 2022-2024 Yolo County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), identified basic needs such as housing, jobs, and food, as well as mental/ behavioral health and substance use services as the top two health issues facing Yolo County. This closely mirrors what Yolo Crisis Nursery families are experiencing. CHNA emerged from the work of Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) in collaboration with CommuniCare Health Centers, Dignity Health, Sutter Health, and Winters Healthcare, with support from Community Health Insights. 

The lack of access to basic needs and mental health care creates toxic stress for families and places children at an increased risk of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The long-term impact of ACEs is costly for our community. Untreated, ACEs can negatively impact mental and physical health, education, and job opportunities into adulthood. 

The Nursery’s life-altering programs help to prevent ACEs and mitigate their impact. By taking a whole-family approach, the staff work with families to provide a path to a healthy, stable, and self-reliant future. The Nursery’s programs are not a temporary solution, they are an upstream investment in the success of our community’s most vulnerable children. 

Recently a Yolo Crisis Nursery mom shared, “I was fleeing a domestic violence situation that left us homeless when I found the nursery. My Client Navigator helped me find a strength within myself that I did not know I had. I now have a home, car, and career in healthcare. I am now able to provide a safe and stable home for my family. The Yolo Crisis Nursery changed my life forever. I am living proof of the great impact the Yolo Crisis Nursery can have on a family in need.”

“I have witnessed countless families in serious, life-threatening crises transition into thriving families that are making our community a better place,” said Yolo Crisis Nursery executive director Heather Sleuter. “Our whole-family approach has been incredibly successful with 98 percent of respite care families not entering the child-welfare system.”

The nursery protects children from immediate, grave harm and creates long-term change by helping families break generational cycles of abuse and neglect. I invite you to join me in supporting the nursery and its important mission. 

To learn more about the nursery and how we help children whose families are in crisis, at risk of homelessness, and/or experiencing abuse find a path to family stability and strength, please visit our website

If you believe all children deserve to grow up in a safe, stable, and loving home, please join us and get involved with the Yolo Crisis Nursery — volunteer, make a financial contribution, or join the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery Barn Dance is just around the corner! Please save the date and join us on Saturday, October 8, at the Central Park Pavilion in Davis to kick up your heels for kids! The event is hosted by the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery and sponsored by Nugget Markets. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 31 for only $25 at

— This article originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 28, 2022. It was written by Yolo Crisis Nursery Board Member, Dr. Joan Smith-Maclean.