April 26, 2020

Helping Families Navigate Through Uncertainty

I am so inspired by the compassion, creativity, and resilience of our community and local businesses, yet I find myself with a sense of uncertainty — somewhere between what was and what will be.

For me, the pandemic has emphasized how necessary my personal and community connections are to my emotional and physical well-being. I’ve managed to find creative and technological methods for sustaining those relationships, but for some, it’s not so easy.

That’s where the Yolo Crisis Nursery comes in. The nursery continues to provide community support and understanding for Yolo County’s most vulnerable children and their families in crisis during the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, history informs us that with stress and crisis, all too often, comes neglect and abuse.

Without a doubt, physical distancing is a unique challenge for our community that impacts us all in different ways During this time we know that the hardest hit are our community’s most vulnerable — the children whose families are facing serious and often life-threatening crises like abuse, mental illness or extreme poverty during this pandemic.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is here for children and their families as a place of hope and help as they navigate this period of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is serving children to provide services to those whose safety is at the highest risk within the guidelines of national, state, and local health officials. The children who have come to the Nursery in the last month have had very high needs.

Our trauma-trained staff has seen undiagnosed children, and through our screening process helped to identify major medical issues such as deafness and Autism. While providing compassionate care for these children, we worked with them and their families to get the medical care and resources they need to help properly care for those elevated needs.

We have children onsite at the Crisis Nursery during the day and overnight. The number of children having experienced abuse and neglect is high, and it is anticipated that number will grow even higher as the pandemic and its effects wears on. Our compassionate caregivers are working with these children to comfort and support them and to help them to heal.

Yolo Crisis Nursery case managers are working with families to provide wrap-around services and to connect them to additional resources in our community for support. We are in regular communication with our nursery families to ensure their children are safe and cared for.

We also provide the childcare essentials that parents need, along with those currently recommended by local and national health officials to help keep them and their children healthy.

In addition to our crisis nursery program, we continue to offer our in-home parenting education programs (Family Life Skills and Attachment Biobehavioral Catch-up or ABC) by way of doorstep curriculum delivery/pick-up followed by video and phone sessions.

These two programs are critical to help children and parents navigate life’s challenges in a time of uncertainty. Also, for the first time, we are taking our family engagement night virtual this month to continue to build and sustain our client families’ support network during this isolating, stressful time.

Our committed staff continues to adapt and find creative ways to help families navigate the pandemic while also managing family crises of abuse, mental illness, unemployment, and homelessness.

Through our community care package program, we are seeing an increased need for diapers, wipes, formula, and other childcare essentials. Sadly, we expect to see this need increase significantly over the coming weeks and months.

Currently, our most pressing need is for unrestricted funds to help support our families through their crises.  In the first week of May, we are participating in two planned generosity movements — Giving Tuesday Now on May 5 and Big Day of Giving on Thursday, May 7.

If you are able to donate at any level, we hope you will give from your heart and help us sprinkle the Nursery with love the first week in May by making a donation.

Thanks to the generosity of Greg and Amy McNece, the first $10,000 in donations will be matched dollar for dollar! Your gift will help the Nursery provide services to protect children while also helping at-risk families remain as stable as possible through this pandemic.

We encourage those who are able to participate by making a single gift in the first week of May. You can schedule your gift now at www.yolocrisisnursery.org or by visiting our website the first week in May or mailing a check to 1107 Kennedy Place, Suite 5, Davis, CA 95616.

None of us know when the pandemic will end nor the full extent of how our lives will be changed, but for now we can all sleep better knowing that the Yolo Crisis Nursery is in the frontlines keeping our community’s most vulnerable children safe and their families whole.

— This article was written by JoEllen Welsch is the president of Yolo Crisis Nursery and appeared in the Davis Enterprise on April 26, 2020.