A few weeks ago we visited the Foundling Crisis Nursery in New York City. To give a little back ground the Foundling organization has been around since 1869 and started as a shelter to help protect abandoned infants. Since then the New York Foundling organization has gone way beyond just caring for abandoned infants, they established a pediatric hospital, opened up one of the first ever preschools to care for the needs of working mothers, worked on creating a program to strengthen the family and reduce the amount of children in foster care and of course created a crisis nursery in 1982. A crisis nursery is essentially a place where a family in crisis can place their children for a short period of time, at some nurseries it is only for 72 hours, in NY it is usually a few days but can be up to two weeks. Some families are homeless, others call because they feel so stressed they worry they will hurt their child, sometimes a single mom is in the hospital and her other children need to be cared for. There are many reasons a family will use a crisis nursery. Although the model is a little different than Pinwheel Place we wanted to learn all we could from such an amazing and long standing organization that truly cares about the community they reside in. We reached out to them through email and asked if we could visit. They were excited to share their knowledge with us and to learn more about what we wanted to do here in New Jersey.
We were very much looking forward to meeting the staff and to see the location of the crisis nursery. When we arrived everyone was very welcoming and the Director had set up meetings with a staff person from each of the different roles in the organization. We talked with a child care worker, an intake counselor, the Director and the after care director. We asked so many questions and listened to many stories. By talking with all the staff we learned there was a great need for a crisis nursery not just in New York City but in every state. They told us that they often get calls from New Jersey from parents looking to place their children somewhere when they are experiencing a crisis. However, they are only allowed to take children from the five boroughs in NYC. We also learned how important the role of after care is . After care is following up with the parents, helping them with services and goals after their children go home. One thing that they mentioned is that there were a lot of families who returned to the nursery, however, their aftercare program is beginning to help to reduce that number.
We were awed by the dedication and passion everyone had for helping the families and children in their care . They were constantly training and learning to better help the children and families that they serve. One aspect that they are hoping to improve on and train for in the future is becoming more trauma informed. This is something we are going to implement as well at Pinwheel Place. As the day ended we were reassured how important the services they provide are needed in all communities. The staff wanted us to keep them informed of our progress and told us to reach out any time with questions. We believe they will be a great resource as we move forward and we thank them for having us.