Short-Term Crisis Care for Children Available in Southeast Missouri and Springfield Area

Great Circle Helps When Families Face Emergency Situations

(January 17, 2019) – Great Circle’s emergency children’s shelters in Poplar Bluff and Springfield now are providing temporary shelter for children whose families are experiencing a short-term crisis. This broadens Great Circle’s ability to help children and families in southeast and southwest Missouri when unexpected situations arise and provides parents with much-needed support that ensures their children’s safety.

“A family’s situation can change in the blink of an eye,” says Michael Turner, director of Great Circle’s Poplar Bluff shelter. “If parents are hospitalized, the furnace goes out in the middle of winter or suddenly the family has no place to live, it’s very important to have a safe place for the children to stay. We can meet that need.”

Funding for the service comes through the state of Missouri to serve children ages newborn to 18. Holly Hunt, director of Great Circle’s Ozark Family Resource Center, in Springfield, says children can be placed in the shelter through various channels. “Hospitals, churches, schools, law enforcement or other social service agencies that are aware of a family in need can reach out to us, or a family can just contact us directly,” she says. “We will work with them to decide if a temporary placement is appropriate.”

The Poplar Bluff shelter, which opened in October 2018, is the only facility of its kind in southeast Missouri. It can accommodate up to nine children. The Springfield shelter, which opened in 2001, can accommodate up to 20 children.

In addition to housing children with these short-term needs, both shelters also serve children who have recently been removed from the home by the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. These children can remain at the shelter for up to 30 days while long-term placement is found, or the crisis is resolved. The Springfield shelter also serves homeless youth.

Hunt says having the option of short-term crisis care helps keep families together. “Often, parents worry that an emergency will trigger other bad outcomes, including the state taking away their children because they are unable to care for them,” she says. “In fact, the point of crisis care is to avoid that outcome. While we provide shelter for their children, parents will receive additional support to help them resolve the crisis and keep the family intact.”