Helping combat abuse and neglect among children

BAKER CITY – With 41 of every 1,000 children experiencing abuse or neglect, Baker County has the second highest rate of maltreatment in the state. To change this statistic, a group of concerned citizens worked to make a local Relief Nursery a reality. This summer, Baker Relief Nursery became certified, joining 39 others throughout the state to combat abuse and neglect. 

“The Relief Nursery model provides comprehensive family services in safe and nurturing environments to children ages 6 and under whose families are enduring situations such as social isolation, children with special needs, mental or physical health challenges, or recovery from domestic violence or addiction, among others,” said RaeAnn Butler, the Nursery’s program coordinator. “Our entire model is based on strengthening these families in Baker County and North Powder, helping reduce the number and severity of significant stresses while building their little ones’ social-emotional skills in our therapeutic classroom.” 

For Baker Relief Nursery to be a success, it will continue to need the community’s support. Lew Bros. Tire Center in Baker City is among the businesses offering such support. Located at 210 Bridge Street, the center will hold a Diaper Drive throughout the month of October. Community members, service organizations, and school groups are invited to collect diapers and baby wipes and drop these off at Les Schwab during business hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 

“Les Schwab is known for its commitment to the communities in which they operate,” said Diana Brown of Lew Bros. Tire Center. “We are proud to help with this effort, knowing that taking one big stress off a family’s plate – even if for a short time – can make a big difference.” 

The Relief Nursery concept – find struggling families with young children and offer them relief – started 45 years ago with the first Nursery opening in Eugene. The strength-based model has proven successful at keeping children safe and out of the foster care system while better preparing them for academic learning in kindergarten. 

Baker Relief Nursery is presently hiring additional classroom and home visiting staff. For more information on how you can help, contact Butler at (541) 239-5054 or