Crisis Nursery  1309 W Hill St  Urbana  IL 61801 217-337-2731



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Crisis Nursery

The Crisis Nursery’s mission is to “create an ‘Island of Safety’ dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing twenty-four-hour emergency care for children and support to strengthen families in crisis.” 

The Crisis Nursery was incorporated on December 14, 1983.  Much of the work to open the Crisis Nursery was done by a nurse at McKinley Health Center and a social worker at Burnham Hospital beginning in 1981.  When Burnham Hospital closed in August 1992, the Crisis Nursery relocated to a house donated by Provena Covenant Medical Center at 1409 East Park Street, Urbana.  The Crisis Nursery has maintained close ties with Provena, who donate extensively to the organization and pay for the office’s phone system. To accommodate its growth and the needs of the community, the Crisis Nursery moved to its current location at 1309 West Hill Street, Urbana, in February 2001, doubling its size and its capacity to serve families in need (Crisis Nursery).

In 1993 the Crisis Nursery received the Congressional Point of Light Award, which “recognizes individuals, groups, and organizations who work together ‘with little or no pay or recognition’ to address serious social problems” (Crisis Nursery). Over the years the Crisis Nursery has been granted several other awards for community service, including the Governor’s Cup Award for the best community volunteer program in the state of Illinois in 2002, the President’s Award for community service in Champaign County in 2009, and the Helen R. Weigle Award for Innovations in Children’s Programming in 2009 (Crisis Nursery, Crisis Nursery Financial Summary 2009).  The Crisis Nursery has also won two contests in the last two years—the “Office Needs for Good Deeds” contest in April 2010, a nationwide contest which gave the Crisis Nursery an office makeover worth $75,000; and a $10,000 website makeover contest in August 2010 (Crisis Nursery Financial Summary 2010; “Urbana’s Crisis Nursery”; Record; Sizer; Weiss). The fruits of these contests have helped the Crisis Nursery keep its office space and materials up-to-date.

Last year the Crisis Nursery transitioned from a website that “didn’t look sophisticated at all, and didn’t really have any useful information,” to “a really state-of-the-art Website” that allows potential clients to read about the Crisis Nursery’s programs, view photographs, and even take a virtual tour of the Crisis Nursery.  The website also provides volunteers with access to paperwork online and allows donors to make donations without writing a check (Weiss; Record).

In addition to using the new website, staff members actively post to the Crisis Nursery’s Facebook page and Twitter account to keep clients, volunteers, and donors informed. They send out monthly e-newsletters as well as biannual paper newsletters for those who are not as active online (Record). While their online presence is very modern, the software available in their office is “outdated and not the most cutting-edge technology” (Weiss). The Crisis Nursery is currently “in the process of updating a lot of things” technologically (Weiss).

In addition to updating technology, the Crisis Nursery has added new programs and ways to donate in the last few years.  In July 2008 it implemented the Beyond Blue program to assist mothers experiencing perinatal depression, and in 2010 they added two new child program enhancements—a Spanish-speaking parent–child interaction group and canine therapy (Crisis Nursery Financial Summary 2009; “Crisis”; Crisis Nursery Financial Summary 2010).  Additionally, the Crisis Nursery Fund was added to the Illinois State Tax Form as a Make “Giving” Easy! option in 2009, so Illinois tax payers can donate to Crisis Nurseries of Illinois via their IL-1040 form.  This raised nearly $38,000 from Illinois taxpayers from 2009 to 2010 (Crisis Nursery Financial Summary 2009).

Today, the Crisis Nursery continues to be an “Island of Safety” for families in crisis situations.  As the Crisis Nursery updates its technology, Executive Assistant Erika Weiss says there is a challenge in “moving into the twenty-first century and keeping our grassroots history because that will always be a part of what we are. We still want to look towards the future and grow and expand and keep serving our community” (Weiss). The Crisis Nursery’s staff and board members all seem to face this challenge with confidence.

Outside Links

Crisis Nursery. “Crisis Nursery”, accessed 6 September 2011 <>.


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