Providence House can currently support up to 30 children at a time at our West Campus in Ohio City: 20 children in Leo’s House, our traditional Crisis Nursery, and 10 children in Elisabeth’s House, our Pediatric Crisis Nursery for children with medical needs. Last year, we cared for 170 children!
Once our East Campus Crisis Nursery opens in the Buckeye-Shaker Neighborhood, we will be able to support an additional 20 children at a time.
As a Crisis Nursery, we are only licensed to provide shelter and direct care to children.
Parents and guardians reaching out to Providence House face a range of crisis situations that potentially make them unable to safely care for their children while they address their family’s needs.
The majority of homeless families supported by Providence House have been unable to find safe housing or shelters that can accommodate their children due to the limited number of family shelters and children’s beds available in our community.
We provide free, voluntary emergency shelter and 24/7 loving care and direct services for each child’s essential needs.
Our Childcare Staff and Volunteers engage children in daily onsite activities and community field trips. Licensed Social Workers use developmental assessments to make sure children are at the appropriate developmental stage and use play-based approaches to build developmental skills. If children are showing significant delays, Social Workers connect families to agencies that can provide long-term support.
To see what a day in the life of a child at Providence House is like, visit our Gallery for photos and videos.
Children from birth through 12 years old can stay at Providence House. When our Social Workers receive an inquiry from a family who has children over the age of 12, they work to connect them to other community resources that are a better fit for their family.
If a family needs support, but we do not have immediate availability, the children are placed on our waiting list. Our Licensed Social Workers try to find short-term, immediate support to make sure the children are safe until they can be admitted into our Crisis Nursery and continue to check in with the family daily. Once there is an opening, our Social Workers review the waiting list and try to ensure that families with more severe crises are served first.
Each year, 20% to 30% of children served will be readmitted to our Crisis Nursery. Families trust Providence House to support them when they need help and may come back for help if their crisis escalates.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! In a long-term outcome study, families with multiple admissions of their children were no more likely to have foster care involvement than those with a single admission.
When children stay at Providence House, they may be frightened, confused, angry or upset that they aren’t with their mom or dad. Our Staff knows it can be traumatic to be separated from their parent or guardian, and we provide a trauma-informed environment to care for them.
We offer a consistent age-appropriate activity/sleep/eating schedule with special attention paid to transition times. We also teach the children ways to self-regulate, or to lower their own anxiety levels, often through activities that are sensory-based. Through these activities and maintaining a warm, friendly environment at Providence House, we find the children tend to be a lot less sad than you might expect.
Yes, throughout their child’s stay, parents/guardians are required to visit with their children at least two times a week. Visits that take place onsite may be supervised by Social Workers as part of our Parent Education Program or take place in private rooms in our Family Center.
About 70% of the families that use our services self-refer, which means they may have heard from someone they trust that Providence House can help them. We also collaborate with over 130 organizations in our community to support families in crisis. We receive referrals from domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, hospitals, drug treatment and mental health providers, and our local public child welfare department.
No. It is a myth that parents who bring their children to Providence House are “bad parents” looking for ways to skirt the system or dump their kids. When parents reach out to us for support, they are seeking wellness, stability, and safety for their children and themselves.
It is our goal that we can preserve each family that comes to Providence House. Last year 99% of the children we served were reunited with their parent or guardian after staying in our Crisis Nursery and working with our Social Work Team. However, if a parent or guardian is not engaging in our program (completing required visits, participating in case management and parent education, etc.) and we have concerns about the future safety of the children, our Social Workers will alert the Division of Child and Family Services to report our concerns.
Recognizing the need to support the increasing number of children coming into the care of DCFS, Providence House has begun a program to reserve two beds at all times for short-term emergency childcare while the county finds appropriate foster care or family placement for children. Providence House provides immediate protection and nurturing care in a trauma-informed, home-like environment for children who are removed from their homes and awaiting foster placement. Children who are brought to us by their parents/guardians are not in county custody.
We are unable to accept used items to help ensure the health and safety of the children in our crisis nurseries. We are grateful for the community support we receive, which allows us to provide each child with a backpack with new clothes, hygiene products, a blanket, and a teddy bear when they arrive. Giving children new items helps to reinforce a sense of self-esteem and personal ownership, and it helps us ensure that our Crisis Nursery is clean and hygienic. To view the items we need most right now, click here.
We are unable to accept donations of used car seats. Over time, the plastic on car seat parts can weaken and may not offer the same amount of protection as a new car seat. In addition, safety standards for car seats can change, and older seats may be recalled for faulty designs. To ensure the safety of the children we care for and to comply with our own regulations, we cannot accept a used car seat.
Childcare volunteers must be at least 21 years of age and be able to commit to a weekly volunteer shift of 2 or 3 hours. We follow these rules in accordance with our licensure and to support the safety of the children who stay at Providence House. Childcare Volunteers are held to the same rigorous training and screening requirements as our paid Childcare Staff and are monitored and evaluated regularly. We are grateful for the support of our trained volunteers, that provide one-on-one interactions for children and help with all the cleaning and cooking that occurs in our crisis nurseries on a daily basis. Find out more.
Help support our mission to protect children, support families, and strengthen communities.