Our Programs


24-hour Crisis Helpline: 763-591-0100

Parents/Guardians who find themselves in the midst of a crisis may call our crisis helpline any time, day or night. When a parent or guardian calls, trained Family Advocates are there to answer. During that first call to the Crisis Nursery, the Family Advocate will assess the client's safety and can offer crisis counseling. In the event the parent/guardian schedules an intake to bring their children to the Crisis Nursery, the Family Advocate will help arrange transportation.

Crisis Counseling

Parents/guardians in crisis may call our crisis helpline 24-hours per day. If they then opt to bring their children to the Crisis Nursery, parents/guardians receive on-site crisis counseling to help them address their crisis while their children are staying at the Crisis Nursery. During the intake interview, parents/guardians meet with a Family Advocate to develop an action plan. The Family Advocate assesses the severity of the crisis and determines the adequacy of the family’s basic needs, safety, shelter, income, food, clothing and medical care, using a system called the Basic Needs Assessment Tool, developed by a Clinical Psychologist specifically for the Crisis Nursery.

During the discharge interview, parents/guardians discuss their progress with a Family Advocate and receive referrals to additional social services that help stabilize the family. Within three weeks of the discharge, Family Advocates place multiple follow-up calls to the parents/guardians to help ensure the family’s safety and stability, and offer additional referrals and support.

Overnight Residential Child Care

The Crisis Nursery shelters children for up to three nights in a nurturing, non-shaming, developmentally appropriate environment. With a ratio of one Child Care Provider to four children, children get the individual attention they need. While at the Crisis Nursery, children enjoy three nutritious meals and three snacks per day. In addition, they play on the playground and in the gym, they participate in enrichment activities such as the Bring Me a Book early literacy program, they create arts and crafts activities and use the books, art supplies and computer stations in the learning resource rooms. When it is time to rest, they sleep in one of the cheerfully decorated sleeping rooms.

The Overnight Residential Child Care program is an opportunity to address the social and emotional development of vulnerable children who have experienced chronic stress and trauma. The Crisis Nursery uses trauma-informed care protocols called The Nursery Way to help children develop coping skills and build resiliency. Additionally, Family Advocates also work with parents to understand and attend to their child’s development needs.

4th Day Home Visiting Program

According to the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, home visiting is the most promising method of preventing child maltreatment. The 4th Day Home Visiting program furthers the Crisis Nursery’s mission to end child abuse and neglect and create strong, healthy families by working directly with vulnerable parents to facilitate long-term change and family stability. The primary purpose of the 4th Day Home Visiting program is to offer intensive support to parents who identify multiple barriers to self-sufficiency, including extreme poverty, single-parent households, homelessness, mental health concerns and substance abuse issues. Their situation also puts their children at risk for abuse or neglect. With the help of a Home Visitor, parents identify needs, set goals, access resources and increase coping skills and their understanding of their children’s developmental needs.

Families who participate in the 4th Day Program meet the following criteria:

  • They have multiple barriers to self-sufficiency, including extreme poverty, single-parent households, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse issues, and others.
  • They want to make a change in their lives, and the lives of their children.Their situation puts their children at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • They lack a support network of family and friends to help them manage their family.
  • They are not receiving similar services from another agency.
  • They are not involved in a child protection case at the time of intake.

 The goals of the 4th Day program are to:

  • Prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • Increase family stability.
  • Decrease family isolation.
  • Promote family self-sufficiency.
  • Increase provider collaboration.
  • Develop parenting skills to provide a secure, nurturing home environment for children.

By helping parents access additional programs, the 4th Day Program provides “wrap-around” assistance without duplicating services.

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Pediatric Assessment and Medical Management

The Crisis Nursery’s Pediatric Assessment and Medical Management (PAMM) program allows us to provide medical care and health assessments to children, many of whom do not receive regular medical attention. After intake, children receive a bubble bath, which helps soothe them and gives them a chance to bond with their Child Care Provider. It also allows the Crisis Nursery to screen each child for signs of abuse, neglect, or illness. We report suspected abuse or neglect to the Hennepin County Community-Based First Response. If children require medical attention, our staff work with volunteers from Partners in Pediatrics, a local practice, to diagnose health problems, prescribe and deliver treatment, complete a growth assessment, and refer children to long-term health care providers. Volunteers from the University of Minnesota Emergency Medicine Program provide on-site staff CPR and First Aid trainings each quarter.

Parent Education and Parent Support Group

One of the four most common reasons parents cite for using the Crisis Nursery is a housing crisis. Crisis Nursery staff reach out to homeless families by offering a parent education class at People Serving People (PSP) shelter during the school year. The class, titled Parenting in Tight Situations, is a collaboration between the Crisis Nursery, People Serving People and MacPhail Center for the Arts.  Parents, along with their children, and staff from both visiting agencies meet for songs and games to give parents a low-stress, enjoyable, educational opportunity with their children. The Crisis Nursery’s staff conduct classes on topics such as anger management, discipline, and positive parenting and incorporates domestic violence into its safety lesson as part of the core curriculum. Parent Education sessions focus on nurturing and attachment, and parents' knowledge of child development so that parents have specific tools to increase their parenting effectiveness.

The Crisis Nursery collaborates with Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Family Education to provide a Parent Support Group (PSG). PSG is an additional strategy for Crisis Nursery staff to provide a continuum of care for families who desire to make substantial change in their lives. The Parent Support Group offers a way to meet the needs of families and decrease their isolation.  PSG consists of 8 sessions offered in both the spring and fall each year.

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