Crisis child care center opens today in Larimer

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No one knows if any children will show up when a new child care center opens today.

But two child care workers will be on deck at the city's first crisis nursery, Jeremiah's Place at the Kingsley Association in Larimer.

If a family has an emergency and needs a safe place for children, Jeremiah's Place will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day for children up to age 6.

"What we hope is that it will help parents really reduce any stress or anxiety they might have," said pediatrician Lynne Williams, co-founder of Jeremiah's Place, which is named for a child her mother fostered.

"As a parent myself of very young children, I'm always concerned about where they are and their safety. To have a place where you know there's a safe place for them to be when you can't be with them, I think is a real blessing.

"I have my mom. I have my sister. I have that backup. If you don't have that support, we have a really safe place."

An emergency could be a parent in the hospital, a homeless parent who needs to go apartment hunting, a parent whose baby-sitter canceled just before a job interview, or a parent so stressed out that he or she needs a break for the child's safety.

"If it's an emergency, you just grab the kid and go," said Dr. Williams. "The kids could just come with the clothes on their backs."

The center will have food, diapers and extra clothing. It is set up like any day care center, with areas for infants, play and meals.

Licensed by the state Department of Public Welfare for up to 30 children for daytime care, the center currently can handle 12, a number that will grow as volunteers are trained.

The center will add overnight care for 12 children once the application for an overnight license is approved.

Children generally will be able to stay for up to three days, and the center will work to try to help the families make other connections.

Jeremiah's Place is at 6435 Frankstown Ave., Larimer;; 412-924-0726

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