The Yolo Crisis Nursery: The Power of Partnership

Sara is a young, pregnant, single mom who didn’t know where to start. There were so many wolves at the door and she had no clue as to which one to take on first, or even if any of them could be driven away.

Her toddler son had just been removed from another childcare center due to behavioral challenges. Without childcare, Sara was on the brink of losing her job, which meant the family would be evicted from their apartment and forced to live on the streets. It seemed she had nowhere to turn.

Then Sara walked through the door at Empower Yolo. Because there was a young child involved, the counselor steered her to the onsite Yolo Crisis Nursery mobile client navigator. The navigator arranged for transportation to the nursery.

The entire staff at the Yolo Crisis Nursery are trauma-informed care trained. They quickly recognized that Sara’s son had suffered “ACEs” (adverse childhood experiences) requiring prompt intervention. ACEs is a polite way of saying the boy had been through some rough times during his important formative early years. The consequences could negatively impact him for the rest of his life.

Sara had been right there with him through it all, so her emotional stability was at risk, too. The nursery staff immediately began working with both mother and child to get them on the road to recovery.

Like loving arms, the nursery’s wraparound services kicked in to help this family. There are a multitude of resources available for families in need, but it is a daunting task to chase them down individually. Nursery staff sorted through all the local programs to direct Sara to the relevant ones and then made multiple referrals to a carefully curated list of partners:

STEAC – For the past 50 years, the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee in Davis has provided immediate, emergency aid to low income families living in Yolo County, including help with food, housing rental, utilities and job readiness.

Cal Fresh – This federally mandated Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is supervised by the State of California and administered by Yolo County Health and Human Services. It provides monthly benefits to help low-income households purchase healthy and nutritious food.

Help Me Grow – A national program that unites a local community around its children by addressing the need for early identification of behavioral and developmental challenges. The Yolo County office is funded by First 5 Yolo and Yolo County Health and Human Services. Free developmental screenings are available to identify areas of concern, and then provide information and connections to community-based resources.

Child Care Subsidy – A Yolo County Health and Human Services CalWORKs program, which is administered by Yolo County Children’s Alliance. It helps low income parents who need childcare in order to work or attend school.

WIC – Women, Infants & Children is also administered by Yolo County Health and Human Services. This program provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and breast-feeding support.

Thanks to help from the Yolo Crisis Nursery, Sara was able to care for her son and keep both her job and home while working through this difficult time. The nursery helped Sara find long-term childcare for her son and is working with the boy’s new preschool on how to meet his behavioral needs. Sara is preparing to welcome her second baby into a community that is willing to do whatever it takes to help every child grow up in a safe, loving, and stable home.

We may call it a nursery, but it is oh, so much more. Simply put, the Yolo Crisis Nursery specializes in chasing the wolves away.

Yolo Crisis Nursery depends on the love and generosity of our community to help families, like Sara’s, successfully navigate a crisis. To learn more, to help, or to donate, please visit our website

This article written by J.D. Denton, member of Yolo Crisis Nursery Board of Directors, was published in the Davis Enterprise on Sunday, August 26, 2018