Relief nursery transforms lives of young children at risk for abuse and neglect

November 13, 2017
Raising children can be overwhelming for many parents. But, for those parents facing immense stress—whether it’s due to growing up in poverty or at the hands of an abuser, or suffering from depression or addiction issues—it can be difficult to break the cycle to raise children in a stable, thriving environment. Without providing these parents necessary skills and resources, the children are at an extreme risk of abuse and neglect.

With a total county population of under 100,000 in Yamhill County, Oregon, in 2014 there were 226 children in foster care and 155 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect. Nearly 50 percent of these children were under the age of 6.  

These heartbreaking statistics are the reason a concerned group of community members—consisting of a judge, physicians, therapists, a bank, attorneys and retired professionals—came together four years ago to create A Family Place Relief Nursery of Yamhill County. This group imagined a place that would stabilize families, improve the quality of parent-child interactions, support positive child development, and stop child abuse and neglect in the community.

Located about 45 miles southwest of Portland, today the non-profit abuse and neglect prevention agency provides relief nurseries, classrooms and other free resources to strengthen high-risk families and keep young children safe. Operated by Lutheran Community Services NW, it is the only relief nursery in Yamhill County.

Programs offered by this nonprofit include parent education, home visits and specialized preschool to prepare children for success in school. It can also include support for other social needs and employment. The intent is to partner with parents—who often come from low-income, single-parent households—to give them the skills, resources and confidence needed so they can be the kind of loving and supportive parent they’ve always wanted to be.

Providence Health & Services invests in protecting children

Providence Health & Services in Oregon began partnering with A Family Place more than two years ago as a direct response to our community health needs assessment, which found that an area of great need in this region continues to be behavioral health services, particularly those related to adverse experience/trauma prevention and building community resilience.

The impact of abuse is deep and long-lasting. Services for victims of abuse—from special education to child welfare, mental health care and corrections—will average $210,000 over their lifetime, according to 2012 information from the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention. Yamhill County’s 2014 child abuse and neglect victims alone will require more than $32 million in services.

Since 2015, Providence has since provided a total community benefit investment of $56,250 to A Family Place. These funds supported the expansion of services for the relief nursery, including hiring of staff to open a second youth classroom and providing additional outreach services for parents and families. Providence’s support also enabled the non-profit to leverage an additional $100,000 of state funds through the Department of Education. 

From July 2016 through March 2017, A Family Place served 53 unique families and provided nearly 200 hours of respite care. Additionally, the nursery provided 184 nights of respite care for 14 children, and 18 mothers completed an evidence-based curriculum for post-partum depression and showed marked improvement.

As a result of the programs and services offered, the Yamhill County community is seeing improved parent-child interaction, increased employment for parents, and a reduction in use of emergency department services. Perhaps most remarkable is that, since 2015, there has been a 25 percent decline in child abuse cases and a 9 percent reduction in the number of children placed in foster care in Yamhill County. That’s reason enough for Providence to support an organization like A Family Place! Read more about how A Family Place has helped families in Yamhill County.