The History of the Urbana Crisis Nursery

Historical Overview

The Crisis Nursery of Champaign County was incorporated on December 14, 1983 – the culmination of work began in 1981 by a nurse at McKinley Health Center and a social worker at Burnham Hospital. The Nursery was established as a not-for-profit, tax deductible organization, licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Initial housing for the Nursery was in a wing of the now-closed Burnham Hospital.

When Burnham closed in August of 1992, the Nursery relocated to a house donated by Provena Covenant Medical Center at 1409 E. Park Street, Urbana.  Provena Covenant Medical Center also generously offered in-kind support of utilities, food, laundry and security.  The Nursery expanded its prevention services by providing 24-hour, 7-day-a-week crisis and emergency care services to assist struggling families in the community.

The Nursery moved to its current home, 1309 W. Hill Street, Urbana, in February 2001, doubling its space and capacity to serve.

Crisis Nursery continues to meet the growing need to protect children and build families. The concept of a crisis nursery grew out of community effort, dedication and work, and it continues today because of the generous financial, in-kind and volunteer support of the community.


Crisis Nursery was recognized in 1993 with the Congressional Point of Light Award, due in large part to the efforts of Provena Covenant Medical Center, local citizens, businesses and groups. The award recognizes individuals, groups and organizations who work together "with little or no pay or recognition" to address serious social problems.

In 2002, the Nursery was awarded the Governor’s Cup Award from Governor George H. Ryan for best community volunteer program in the State of Illinois. Most recently, Crisis Nursery received the 2009 Helen R. Weigle Award for Innovations in Children’s Programming, a statewide award given by the organization Voices for Illinois Children.


The Nursery served 191 children during the first year of operation and continues to grow in the number of children seen and services rendered to families. Between July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 there were 3,427 admissions at Crisis Nursery.

Crisis Nursery is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for children to stay from a few hours to a flexible maximum of 72 hours. Over 150 volunteers weekly assist professional staff to ensure the highest quality of care and individual attention.

The Safe Children program offers an "Island of Safety" to children whose families are in crisis due to parental stress, illness, accidents, homelessness and substance abuse who have no other resources. After the crisis, our Strong Families program offers supportive groups and individual help to assist families in becoming more self-sufficient. Community education, referral services and provision of basic resources are an integral part of the Strong Families program.


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