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Special care agencies hurting

Two nonprofit Nevada County care services – one for older adults, the other for children – are in financial trouble and need help from the community to remain afloat.

The adult day-care Lutz Center in Nevada City is only half-full with 22 clients and needs more for viability, according to Business Manager Francine Novak.

Also on the financial ropes is the KARE Crisis Nursery, an emergency day-care facility in Nevada County for the children of parents who are in tight spots, according to Executive Director Lynn Woerner.



KARE Crisis has cut services in recent weeks, and is trying to raise $60,000 to bring them back.

“We’re determined to stay,” Woerner said. “We can’t give 24-hour care right now, but we can take up to three kids from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.”




Some of the nursery’s clients are parents with drug problems who need to attend court and rehabilitation proceedings, while others are from otherwise stable families going through a temporary crisis.

“We have staff on-call for some 24-hour care, but it’s definitely crisis only,” Woerner said. They are not closing yet, but things are getting tough.

“We’ve had to turn away 13 families in the last month and a half. … It’s a tough one.”

Without the crisis nursery, people can only turn to the county’s Child Protective Services or foster care for help, Woerner said.

The nursery is in a nice home and a quiet neighborhood with plenty of toys and activities for children. While some people use it as an emergency service when their day care falls through, others in emotional crisis turn to it as a way of keeping children safe from volatile situations such as a heated divorce.

A divorcing couple recently put its two daughters in the nursery. The choice allowed the husband and wife to work on their differences.

The couple divorced, but the father got visitation rights to see the girls at the nursery. He improved his relationship with them well enough that the ex-wife petitioned the judge to allow him broader visitation rights.

The Lutz Center is designed to give older people who need daytime care a place to go and be supervised, which allows their normal caregivers to work or do errands for the family. The center’s “participants,” as they’re called, do not sit in a corner all day.

Instead, the staff has them cooking, playing games and working on motor skills to keep themselves in as good shape as possible. When the center moved from Grass Valley last year, it lost many participants and has never recovered.

“We need to increase our census and we haven’t had to curtail services, not yet,” Novak said. “We need donations too,” as does the KARE Crisis Nursery.

To help the nonprofits, see the accompanying box with this story.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237

You can donate and find out about the Lutz Center at 138 New Mohawk Road in Nevada City by calling 265-0605.

To help the KARE Crisis Nursery at its safe home in Nevada County, call 265-0693, or log on to http://www.karecrisisnursery.org.


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