With the 38th anniversary of Providence House approaching at the end of May, it’s fitting to dig deeper into this incredible organization and learn how it’s changing lives not only in Northeast Ohio but all across the country.
First opened on May 27, 1981 by St. Hope Greener, Providence House was founded to provide emergency shelter for children in Cleveland whose families were experiencing a crisis. Sr. Hope was living on the near west side during the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s and noticed how many families needed help keeping their children safe while they got treatment for their addiction.
Providence House is Ohio’s first licensed crisis nursery and offers free, voluntary (non-custodial) emergency shelter to children (newborn-12 years old) who are living in situations that place them at risk of abuse or neglect. In the 38 years that Providence House has operated, they have supported nearly 8,000 children and families in crisis throughout the Greater Cleveland area.
What Services are Offered at Providence House?
Three distinct service areas are supported on Providence House’s campus:
“Leo’s House: A Crisis Nursery” offers our traditional crisis care services for up to 20 children at a time (300+/year).
“Elisabeth’s House: The Prentiss Pediatric Crisis Nursery,” serves up to 10 children at a time who also have medical conditions (100+/year), and offers pediatric care and parent medical training in addition to the crisis care services.
“The Family Center” has three rooms for parent visitation, education, case management, and an Aftercare Program.
Providence House is Proud to Be:
- Licensed Children’s Crisis Care Facility by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services
- CARF Accredited
- OMHAS Certified Community Behavioral Health Provider
- Ohio Medicaid Provider Type 84—Behavioral Health
- Ranked as a GuideStar Platinum and Charity Navigator 4-Star Nonprofit
The Crisis Nursery
Providence House has the ability to house 30 children at a time in total: 20 in the traditional Crisis Nursery and 10 in the Pediatric Crisis Nursery, located in the building across the street. Annually, this represents nearly 350 babies and children (newborn to 12 years old) from 160 families.
Sadly, that leaves nearly 170 children each year on the waitlist due to the current capacity. Growth and expansion are both being considered to help meet the growing number of children needing the services and safety that Providence House provides.
How Does a Family Apply?
Although clients can be referred to Providence House by another social service agency or hospital, nearly 70% of families that walk through the door SELF-refer based on the recommendation of a friend or family member who has been helped by the organization.
Licensed Social Workers begin building rapport and trust with the parent and/or referring agency during the intake process while social history information is gathered and the understanding of the family’s crisis and need for immediate services becomes more clear. Any previously established community social service supports or links are identified to create a team approach in supporting the family towards the goal of resolving the crisis that initiated the child’s admission. Through diligent service provision, appropriate recommendations are made at discharge for either preservation, ongoing monitoring by protective services, or foster care placement. The efforts of Providence House are so successful that 99% of the children last year were safely reunited with their parent(s)!
How To Help
Although Providence House employs approximately 40 full-time and 10 part-time staff in childcare, social work, external relations, and administrative areas, they depend on volunteers to support an array of events, projects, and services throughout the year.
For those who want to volunteer with the kids, Providence House requires an information and orientation session, a background check, and a physical before beginning the weekly volunteer shift. They also require volunteers to complete 52 hours of training during the first year of volunteering.
For groups, they offer projects called “Done in a Day” where individuals can work as a team to complete a campus project. Special event volunteers are also needed for two of their larger events during the year.
Serving the Community
For employees of Providence House, they recognize that the mission of keeping kids safe and families together is no easy task. “Over 300 babies and children live with us every year while we help their parents rebuild their lives”, Providence House Events and Marketing Coordinator, Kaylee Quanbeck, explains. Although difficult, Quanbeck says
While the needs of families in poverty and crisis in Northeast Ohio are escalating, Providence House expresses that one of the greatest strengths as a region is the empathetic and engaged community. “Our community gives more than any community in the nation to help it’s less fortunate”, Quanbeck says, “Many would highlight our rich cultural resources and cost of living, but to us, it is the depth of human service organizations and the generous foundations, philanthropists, businesses, and individuals that support them that truly represents the heart of Northeast Ohio.”
Providence House is recognized as a national leader in child abuse prevention, family prevention, and foster care prevention.