Relief Nurseries seek to prevent the cycle of child abuse and neglect through early intervention programs that focus on building successful and resilient children, strengthening family skills of parents and caregivers, and preserving families by offering comprehensive and integrated early childhood therapeutic and family support services. Relief Nursery services are trauma-informed, non-stigmatizing, voluntary, strength-based, culturally appropriate, and designed to achieve appropriate early childhood development and healthy and attached family functioning.  All Relief Nurseries are replicated through and certified by the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries (OARN).



  1. A Relief Nursery is a community-based, non-governmental organization; and

  2. Each Relief Nursery is a 501(c)(3) organization; and

  3. Each Relief Nursery is licensed by the State Child Care Division; and

  4. Each Relief Nursery completes the replication and certification process through OARN.



  1. Relief Nursery services coordinate with existing programs, services and community partners, and maximize the use of community resources that support families to achieve the desired outcomes for the early childhood system.

  2. Each Relief Nursery complies with all relevant OARS and regulatory agencies.

  3. Each Relief Nursery must maintain good standing with the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries (OARN) by participating in:

    1. Data collection and evaluation: Relief Nursery infrastructure shall be adequate to manage data collection and reporting. The evaluation system is consistent and compatible with the Relief Nursery goals and program philosophy.  It includes: 

  • child and family data including risk factors, demographics, intake, assessments, and abuse and neglect reports;

  • meeting all deadlines for OARN-required data entry and reporting;

  • measurable outcomes. 

    1. Statewide and local trainings and meetings.

    2. Certification and monitoring by OARN in accordance with established standards and schedule.

    3. Annual business standards & practices Memorandum of Understanding with OARN.

    4. Maintaining compliance with OARN bylaws.

4)  Each Relief Nursery engages in ongoing self-monitoring and self-study using the Relief Nursery Quality Assurance Standards and parent feedback.




The Relief Nursery must have an infrastructure that provides oversight, responsibility and resources necessary to provide services on an ongoing basis.

  1. The membership of the Board of Directors shall include representation from a broad cross-section of community interests including but not limited to business, legal, educational, and medical sectors.

  2. The Relief Nursery must maintain a business plan that documents at least 25 percent cash match, of any state allocation, in local community and/or regional financial support.  The business plan must also delineate anticipated support for the ongoing operation of the program and services.

  1. Budget

  2. 25% local cash match



  1. Clients: The clients of Relief Nurseries are children birth through age five and their parents or caregivers who have at least five risk factors linked to child abuse and neglect.  Relief Nurseries accept referrals from any source, including self-referrals.

  2. Core Programs and Services: The Relief Nursery must include the Therapeutic Early Childhood Program with early childhood classrooms, home visiting, and parent education and support, and Outreach Services with home visiting, basic needs support and services, and on-site respite care.

a. Therapeutic Early Childhood Program (TECP).

i. TECP Classrooms provide nurturing, compensatory, and developmentally appropriate activities and interactions to promote the healthy development of children who have multiple risk factors and stresses linked to abuse and neglect.


a) Relief Nurseries will operate one or more TECP classrooms with the following time periods, ratios and class sizes:


Age group

Maximum Size

Adult:Child ratio

At least 2 adults must be qualified staff, 1 may be volunteer

Minimum Hours

6 wks-24 mos

6 children


One 3 hour class per wk

24 mos-36 mos

8 children


Two 3 hour classes per wk

3 yrs – 5 yrs

11 children


Two 3 hour classes per wk


Relief Nurseries will offer classroom services to at least two age groups beginning the third year of operation.


b) The TECP classroom curriculum will include nurturing and compensatory activities, interactions that focus on individual children’s needs and goals, and literacy development.  Curriculum will be based on NAEYC developmentally appropriate guidelines, Relief Nursery Therapeutic Observation Feedback Guide, and the principles of emergent curriculum development.


The TECP classroom curriculum must:

  • Integrate focused interventions for children with emotional, social and behavioral concerns or delays.  Individual child goals are developed and recorded in the child’s records.

  • Adhere to principles and guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices.

  • Support development in all domains (physical, cognitive, social/emotional, language, adaptive), with a particular emphasis on supporting children’s feelings and addressing unmet needs.

  • Respond to the unique needs of the child and family.


ii. Home visiting, provided by the child’s classroom teacher, is a required component for participants in the TECP classroom, and

  • is strength-based and family-focused,

  • considers the unique needs of the child and the family’s goals,

  • promotes healthy development, care and support of the child in the context of the family,

  • provides parenting support and education and that includes child development and improving parent and child interactions,

  • facilitates individual and family goal setting and support,

  • helps with problem solving, resource and referral, and family stabilization, and

  • ensures collaboration and coordination with other community service providers and home visiting programs.


Frequency of home visits:

  • For children attending class twice a week, classroom teachers will visit children and families in their homes at least once per month for one to two hours.

  • For children attending class once a week, classroom teachers will visit children and families in their homes at least weekly for one to two hours.


iii. Nutritious Meals and Snacks.  Relief Nurseries must provide nutritious meals and snacks following USDA standards for nutrition during program hours.


b. Outreach Services offer immediate assistance to eligible families to help meet short-term needs, provide crisis response and/or raise awareness of Relief Nursery services.  Outreach services must be provided beginning the third year of operation.

i. Crisis Response.  Calls and/or site visits from families in crisis are responded to within 24 hours or next business day, at the Relief Nursery, in the home, and/or in the community during business hours with the immediate goal to insure the safety of the children, provide support and problem-solving for the parent.


ii. Home Visiting is provided at least once per month and follows the same principles and guidelines as described in the Therapeutic Early Childhood Program.


iii. Caseloads. The caseload for 1.0 FTE Outreach Worker is a maximum of 25 families.


iv. Respite. On-site respite care is available to families in the Outreach Program and represents the same standards of high adult ratio to children and positive, nurturing interactions as demonstrated in the Therapeutic Early Childhood Program.


v. Nutritious Meals and Snacks.  Relief Nurseries must provide nutritious meals and snacks following USDA standards for nutrition during on-site respite care.

c. Child Screenings & Assessments.  All enrolled children must be regularly screened and/or assessed for appropriate development using research-based developmental screening.

i. Individual child goals will be recorded in their records and integrated into the curriculum and classroom environment.

ii. Progress towards goals will be monitored and assessed on an ongoing basis.

iii. Staff collaborate with other service providers such as Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education and mental health providers.

iv. Results of screenings and child goals will be shared with parents and caregivers.


d. Parent Education and Support is offered to all parents served by the Relief Nursery, through home visiting and/or groups, using evidence-based curriculum that is appropriate to the needs of the family.

i. On-going classes incorporate a variety of best practice curricular components, appropriate to client population.

ii. Class content is adapted to individual family and community needs such as non-English speaking, drug and alcohol prevention and recovery, and English language learners.

iii. Parent education support services include childcare, food and transportation.

iv. Classes are managed, monitored and supervised by Relief Nursery staff.


e. Basic needs and support services.  Relief Nurseries will provide resource referral, short- and long-term problem-solving, and emergency food and clothing.


f. Transportation support services must be provided to Relief Nursery families beginning the third year of operation, through bus or van services for children, bus tokens or gas vouchers.

i. The Relief Nursery must provide a therapeutic environment while transporting children by maintaining a 1:4 adult to child ratio and allowing a ride time of no more than 1 ½ hours.

ii. Each Relief Nursery must comply with all relevant rules, laws and regulations pertaining to transporting children.


3) Confidentiality.

a. All personal information relating to a client that the Relief Nursery collects in any manner or format including electronically must be stored and transmitted in a confidential manner.

b. A Relief Nursery must obtain a completed and signed authorization for release of information to another agency or individual.  Information may be shared without a release where required by law, such as reporting suspected abuse or neglect and responding to a subpoena.

c. Disclosure of information in summaries, statistical reports or other forms which do not identify particular individuals is allowed.



TECP classroom, home visiting and outreach/crisis response services must be provided by trained Relief Nursery staff.

  1. Direct service staff will have

  1.  A Bachelor’s degree in early childhood or relevant field with early childhood teaching experience; or

b. An Associate’s degree in a related field with early childhood teaching experience; or

c. Professional Development Registry Step 9 with early childhood teaching experience.

  1. Exceptions to these guidelines may be made in special circumstances.  Relief Nursery directors may request a waiver to this requirement in writing to OARN for review.  If a waiver is granted, the staff member must have a two-year Professional Development and Training Plan written and implemented to ensure high quality services, and must have more intensive training and supervision during this time.

  2. Staff who do not carry a caseload must meet relevant qualifications through the Child Care Division or other appropriate agency depending on position.



  1. Staff Qualifications and Training Logs and individual Oregon Registry Online records must reflect these required topics:

  1. Mandatory reporting: Relief Nursery staff are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and neglect.

  2. Equity and diversity issues

  3. Curriculum development, Relief Nursery-specific curriculum, developmentally appropriate practices, literacy

  4. Home visiting safety, protocols, and documentation

  5. Parent education curriculum

  6. Theory of change

  7. Trauma informed care

  8. Reflective supervision

  9. Confidentiality and professional ethics


2) New Hire.  In addition, new hire training must include but need not be limited to:

  1. Orientation to Relief Nursery programs, services, staff, and community resources

  2. Therapeutic Early Childhood Classroom Strategies: Relationships

  3. Therapeutic Early Childhood Classroom Strategies: Supporting Children’s Feelings

  4. Understanding Attachment: Issues for Child and Family Support

  5. Identifying and Writing Child and Family Goals

  6. Embedding Therapeutic Goals into Preschool Curriculum

  7. Parent Education Issues with Multi-Stressed Families

  8. Basic Strategies and Tips for Home Visitors

  9. Documentation Principles and Strategies

  10. Family Support Principles


3) Professional Development.  Each Relief Nursery must provide for the ongoing professional development of its staff, which is supported by the Relief Nursery infrastructure and budget.

a. Every staff member must have a Professional Development Plan addressing individual strengths, gaps, goals and timelines, which is used as a guide throughout employment.



Relief Nurseries must ensure that supervisors are experienced and/or have training in supervision.

  1. Supervisors must provide regular, ongoing, high quality reflective supervision for all assigned staff.

  2. Supervision must address topics of child and family case management, individual personnel issues, and professional development and support.

  3. Supervisors will maintain records documenting supervisory activities.

  4. Relief Nurseries will maintain a supervision ratio of one supervisor to eight direct service staff.

  5. Supervision of Relief Nursery staff will be provided in a timely manner appropriate to the experience and needs of the staff.  Individual and group supervision will be provided.

  6. Supervisors receive training, supervision and support on the philosophy and techniques of reflective supervision.



  1. Volunteers from a variety of private and public sectors are integrated into most aspects of the Relief Nursery to insure a sustained, quality program.

  2. Policies provide for background checks on all volunteers.

  3. Relief Nurseries ensure that classroom volunteers are trained, with ongoing support and guidance, and committed to regular classroom participation.

  4. Volunteers are never left alone with children.

  5. Systematic, low-cost and creative ways of showing appreciation to volunteers are implemented in a timely manner.

  6. Written descriptions of standing volunteer opportunities that include duties, qualifications and training are readily available.



Relief Nurseries maintain welcoming, safe and child-appropriate facilities that reflect the Relief Nursery mission including consideration of serving a diverse population.

  1. Welcoming ambience.  The interior and exterior of the facility are well-maintained with a culturally-responsive aesthetic and comfortable presence designed to create a welcome ambience for families, staff, volunteers, and the public.

  2. Accessibility.  Sites are accessible to clients relying on public transportation and are planned with safety issues in mind (parking, lighting, traffic, monitoring of visitors, child-appropriate entry or waiting areas).

  3. Adult gathering space.  The Relief Nursery provides a comfortable and welcoming waiting area with appropriate information readily available; there are areas to meet privately with staff.

  4. Safe, therapeutic and child-appropriate classroom space.  Classrooms comply with all regulatory agencies requirements and Quality Assurance Standards.

  5. Staff Area.  A work area for staff is planned and designated, with consideration of confidentiality of records and child/family discussions, and other work environment issues such as storage.

  6. Food Preparation & Sanitation. A food preparation area is organized and designated with consideration of all relevant regulations, including food handling & storage.

  7. Outside play area.  The outside play area includes natural areas and play equipment and materials that support a variety of activities; is planned with safety and supervision considerations; and is age-appropriate. Lesson plans include outside learning opportunities.

  8. Donor acknowledgement.  System is in place that visually acknowledges donors to the Relief Nursery.



Each Relief Nursery will maintain, and provide for OARN Certification review, appropriate timely, strength-based, and objective documentation to support service provision a


Find us: 

P.O. Bos 7672, Salem, OR 97303

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