"That safety net is really important, especially when you don’t have any family. Had the Crisis Nursery not been available to me, I would not be at the University of Rochester right now...," said Geanna, a mother interviewed by the Democrat and Chronicle about her experience with the Crisis Nursery.


Photo courtesy of Democrat and Chronicle

What is the Crisis Nursery?

The only program of its kind in New York State, the Crisis Nursery of Greater Rochester is dedicated to providing safe, professional and temporary care to children during family crises. Types of crises range from simple to catastrophic and are not limited to these examples:   

  • Medical emergencies
  • Unexpected illness
  • Accidents
  • Unemployment
  • Mental health episodes
  • Unexpected death
  • Domestic violence
  • Homelessness
  • Legal issues
  • Unstable/unsafe housing

Provided free to families during emergencies, services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Crisis Nursery serves children ages newborn to 14; the program is certified to accept children up to age 17 to keep siblings together.

How does it work?

When parents are in crisis, and they have no one else to turn to for safe childcare, they can contact the Crisis Nursery or The Center for Youth's 24-hour help line. Crisis Nursery staff will assist each family based on their individual needs. Some parents need only a few hours of childcare while they resolve their issues; others may need to access the Crisis Nursery on an on-going basis until a crisis is resolved. All families receive referrals to community resources that can provide permanent assistance, as needed.


  • When two parents were hospitalized at the same time, the Crisis Nursery became a safe haven for their four children.
  • In another instance, our staff cared for an infant while her parents tended to a sick sibling at a nearby hospital.
  • When a mother needed respite care for her four children because she had no loved ones in the area to help, the Crisis Nursery became her support system.

Why the Crisis Nursery?

The Crisis Nursery is not a permanent solution — it’s a way to bridge a gap. The Crisis Nursery provides a safe, stable environment for children while giving parents or caregivers time to address a crisis and prepare long-term solutions. By solving a smaller crisis, parents can avoid a larger crisis down the road.