What's New at Families First?

Scroll Down 

A Few Things to Know About
Crisis Nursery

Crisis Nursery is a family support program for anyone living in Olmsted County experiencing a crisis, regardless of income. Crisis Nursery helps families in need by providing safe, temporary care with a licensed child care or overnight care provider. Additional services include crisis counseling and support, parent education, in-home family counseling, referral to community resources and monthly parent education group called PARRK (Parents and Relatives Raising Kids). 

Did you know...

  • Most families that use Crisis Nursery are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations
  • All of our services are at no cost to families
  • Services may be accessed outside normal business hours by contacting the after-hours social workers at 507-281-6248
  • We provide diapers, wipes and formula up to once per month for families struggling financially
  • Crisis Nursery accepts donations of diapers (larger sizes are needed more often!), wipes, formula, gas cards and gift cards (Target, Walmart, etc.)
  • Financial donations are always welcome and can be mailed or delivered to our main office. 

New Grant Funds from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation!

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Fund is focusing these funds on building capacity in the southern district. These funds are for family child care and child care centers in the process of becoming licensed, or providers who are expanding their business to increase enrollment. 

Family child care providers can apply for up to $1,000. Child Care Centers can apply for up to $2000. All grants will go through an approval process. Those interested must have had their first visit with their licensor to apply. 

Email Dawn Eckhoff, Grant Administrator at Families First of Minnesota, if you are interested in this opportunity: dawne@familiesfirstmn.org

here for an application.

Families First Child Care Consultation Project

Families First of Minnesota recently received a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust to address the growing shortage of family child care in Olmsted County. There is a need in our communities to encourage retention of licensed family child care providers and to support new family child care programs. 

Through the Child Care Consultation Project, individuals who are in the process of becoming licensed, newly licensed, or expanding their family child care business will be connected with a Child Care Consultant who will offer technical support, connections to local resources, one-on-one coaching and incentive dollars to help programs be successful. 

For more information, or to join the Child Care Consultation Project, contact Shannon at 507.287.2020, ext. 1501 or by email shannonw@familiesfirstmn.org

Early Education Opportunities

Families First is taking applications for the 2018-2019 program year for Early Head Start, Head Start and School Readiness. 

  • Head Start provides no-cost educational opportunities for income-eligible families that have children ages 3 or 4 by Sept. 1.
  • Early Head Start provides weekly home visits for pregnant women, infants and toddlers, as well as some educational opportunities for children ages 18 months up to 3 years. 
  • School Readiness provides low-cost preschool opportunities for income-eligible families who have children ages 3 or 4 by Sept. 1.

Click here for a brochure with more details on each program. 

We accept applications year-round, but encourage families to return their completed application along with proof of family income as soon as they can. This is important because funding and program spaces are limited. 

  • Click here to print the application. Click here for an application in Spanish. 
  • Click here to access our online applications. They can be printed out or submitted online directly to our office. If you have questions or if we can assist you in any way, please feel free to call 507-287-2009.

Consider Contributing to Families First

Please consider making a donation to Families First. 
It's easy to give in two ways:

  • Click on the blue "Make a gift" button at the top of our website.
  • Send a contribution by mail to Families First of Minnesota, 126 Woodlake Drive S.E., Rochester, MN, 55904.

Thanks for thinking of the parents, children and community members we serve.

PARENT AWARE for Child Care Providers and Early Educators

Enhance the quality of your child care program with coaching and Quality Improvement Support dollars through Parent Aware! Want to learn more?

Contact Amber English, Parent Aware Recruiter, at ambere@familiesfirstmn.org or (507) 287-2020 ext. 1404.

PARRK (Parents And Relatives Raising Kids)

Crisis Nursery's PARRK group (Parents And Relatives Raising Kids) is a no-cost education group for anyone raising children in Olmsted County. The education group meets on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:45 to 8:15 pm. Topics include communication with children, First Aid, Drug Awareness, Stress Management, and more. April's topic is Conscious Discipline and May is the annual picnic. No-cost child care and limited transportation are available. To register or learn more, please contact Nikki at 507-424-1547 or at nicoles@familiesfirstmn.org.

Contribute Now to Help Fund Crisis Nursery

Crisis Nursery is a family support program that provides temporary short-term child care for children in Olmsted County, at no cost to families, while parents address a crisis. Parenting can be a challenging job at times, especially when unexpected events occur.  A crisis can happen to anyone, regardless of income, race, or education level. United Way, a primary funder of Crisis Nursery, cut funding to its partners by 10% in 2017. Please consider making a donation to Crisis Nursery to help us continue our mission of keeping children safe.
Click here to donate.  

Early Learning Scholarships

Families First administers Early Learning Scholarships in our 20-county area in Regions 9 and 10 in southeastern Minnesota, along with Dakota, Scott and Carver counties in the Metro West Region, and Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, Pine and Chisago counties in Region 7E.

Early Learning Scholarships are available for qualifying 3- and 4-year-old children of income-eligible families. Please call 888-450-2773 for further details!

Work at Families First of Minnesota

Families First of Minnesota is a great place to work! For information on current job openings, click here.