Crisis Nursery: Breaking the Cycle of Child Abuse

by RaeAnne Marsh

Old Las Vegas of the Rat Pack era will be the setting for Crisis Nursery’s annual “Blue Skies” fundraiser on February 23 at the Montelucia Resort & Spa. This year, the dinner-and-dancing event will start with a casino reception. Blackjack, craps, even a roulette table — and winners can take their winning chips over to the “super” silent auction to bid on items such as one of the Valley’s noted chefs preparing dinner at the winning bidder’s home. Elaborate decorations will transform the ballroom to a setting that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. would feel at home in — and a sound-alike singer will provide the ultimate re-creation.

Expected to bring in $250,000 to $500,000, “Blue Skies” is the largest single fundraiser for the nonprofit. Funds support the many programs Crisis Nursery provides toward its mission of “breaking the cycle of child abuse,” including operating the children’s shelter that was the organization’s origin. Whether their injuries are physical or internalized, “We help them be kids again,” says Executive Director Marsha Porter.


  • Opened in 1977, Crisis Nursery operates a children’s shelter for children placed voluntarily by their parents (when, for instance, the parent enters a drug treatment program), in custody of Child Protective Services or not successful in foster homes.
  • Other programs include early childhood education and support to help families develop healthy relationships, and foster care recruitment and training.
  • Crisis Nursery serves 150 to 200 children each day, identifying their individual needs.
  • A staff of 105 is comprised of pediatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and specialists in early childhood education and child development.
  • In addition to about 150 regular volunteers are numerous families and corporations that help with one-time projects. Noting that child abuse and neglect is not a problem of an individual child or family, Porter says, “We’re always looking at involving the community.”
  • Crisis Nursery’s annual operating budget of $5.5 million is funded 60 percent by government, the rest by special events, corporate giving and individual donations.

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