The Jackson County Children’s Crisis Relief Nursery, known as the Family Nurturing Center, celebrated an open house in its new 3,500 square foot location. The building, leased by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, will allow them to expand on the 92 families assisted in their first 10 months of operation. The new facility will include four classrooms for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, a playground area, and a parent education and support room.
The program offers a number of services designed to prevent child abuse and assist parents and children as they form healthier relationships. The services range from therapeutic early childhood education, to home visitation, in addition to parent education and support, respite childcare, and referrals to community resources.
"It is our dream of serving every Jackson County child and family at
risk of abuse and neglect, and ultimately eradicating child
maltreatment," says Mary-Curtis Gramley, director of the Family
Nurturing Center. "The growth of the center has made it possible to
serve some of the highest risk families in Jackson County. The need,
however, continued to grow and our waiting list gets bigger and bigger."
nursery is the ninth such operation in Oregon, and began operating in
2006. The program has seen their client list expand from two initial
children, to a waitlist their limited resources are strapped to wade
through. In that short time frame the nursery has seen five families
reunited after the children had been removed to foster care.
for 2005 reveal the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in the
county. While it is impossible to detect the number of cases that go
unreported or confirmed, 835 cases were verified. Half of those
involved the use of methamphetamine. The average number of children
removed from their home and placed in foster care in any given month
rose from 17.5 in 2001 to 53.5 in 2005.
While the statistics
may seem overwhelming, the successes of the program are a step in the
right direction. According to Gramley, "This is a really important
program, and we need community support to continue to grow." Volunteers
and donations are always appreciated. The nursery can be reached by
phone at 770-5242.
By Crystal Millien
Of the Independent