By Micaella J. Wesley

Powelton Village: Respite and Emergency Care Makes a Difference in West Philadelphia

Powelton Village: Respite and Emergency Care Makes a Difference in West Philadelphia
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Michelle cleaned up the toy room while the children ate their snacks.

Michelle cleaned up the toy room while the children ate their snacks.

Youth Service, Inc.  is a nonprofit child welfare agency that’s been in operation for over 60 years. It provides a range of services to youth and families. They have a teen shelter and a mother/baby group home but the majority of their services are now prevention services.

The crisis nursery programs are part of YSI’s prevention services. The program is to help parents who otherwise don’t have a safe place to leave their children in a situation that might lead to foster care or some other type of arrangement that would leave a child not being home with their family.

Rashonda Steed, an employee at Baring House wiped down the kitchen after she gave the children a snack.

Rashonda Steed, an employee at Baring House wiped down the kitchen after she gave the children a snack.

Therefore, the crisis nursery came out of an effort to provide a community based prevention program for families in West Philadelphia for the Baring House and in Germantown for the Sally Watson Center. The Baring House location provides emergency child care for children birth to 5 years old.

It also provides care for parents in situations where they’re either waiting for their subsidized child care to come through and can’t miss work so they can pay their rent, have a sick child in the hospital and may need to be at their child’s bedside and can’t bring their toddler with them, or parents maybe in a more serious situation such as domestic violence or even a homeless situation.

“We are short-term and you can use our program whenever from 1 to 24 hours,” said program director Happi Grillon. “Pretty much any emergency situation that you can think of we will try to assist families for as much time as we can.”

Other services and resources include:

  • A hotline for referrals and support for parents in distress
  • referrals to counseling services and parenting classes
  • links to developmental assessments for children

“We try to provide a loving nurturing atmosphere,” said supervisor Angie Maury, ”because sometimes the transition is difficult when children are brought into this situation where they don’t know anyone here and may have to stay here for an hour, overnight or sometimes a couple of days.”

Maury’s responsibility at Baring House is to manage the property and the care that is needed by the parents who need emergency care.

“It’s been wonderful being able to be a resource to the community here in West Philadelphia and to be a short-term notice emergency respite or emergency childcare resource for the families in this Philadelphia neighborhood,” Maury said.

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