The establishment of the Crittenton Center in Sioux City, Iowa cannot be discussed without mention of Dr. Agnes Eichelberger. As a skilled practicing physician, she was unlike many of the other founders of Crittenton Homes who shared in her passion to support girls and young women, but lacked formal scientific training. It is said that even as a young girl, Dr. Eichelberger had dreamt of serving humanity among medical lines. She first established the Women’s Home in 1894, which consolidated with the Babies’ Home in 1897 to become the Women’s and Babies’ Home Association. After soliciting Dr. Kate Waller Barrett and the National Florence Crittenton Mission, the home became the Crittenton Center in 1903.
For the last 120 years, the Crittenton Center in Iowa has provided services and life skills to all children, young adults, and families with the goal of helping them lead quality and self-sufficient lives. Running the gamut from emergency shelter to child development centers, the Crittenton Center offers a wide array of programs and services to meet the children, young adults, and families of Sioux City wherever they are.
An Emergency Shelter and Youth Development Center is available at Crittenton Center for children from birth to 17 years old who have experienced abuse, neglect, and other family problems, their home has severe structural damage, their foster care placement is no longer available, or other circumstances. It is a short-term home that provides crisis intervention, family visitations, case-coordination, medical care, counseling, tutoring, life and social skill training, recreational activities, and transportation to school or appointments if needed.
The Stella Sandford Child Development Centers offer 3 different programs for childcare at different sites throughout the community, focusing on social and emotional development for children from 0 – 5 years old. West High Infant center is available on campus for children of high school students and staff as well as community members, that are 0 -23 months old. Liberty Pre-school is a collaboration with the Sioux City District Preschool Initiative that offers childcare for 4 year-olds, and the Stella Sandford Center is available for children 2 – 5 years old from families with low-income.
The HOPES/ Healthy Families of Iowa Program is offered to pregnant women and new families with social and economic risk factors, limited parenting skills, and who have extra barriers to accessing family support resources through the community. The program is home-based with staff meeting weekly with families to gain a range of parentings skills from ways to cope to how to properly bathe an infant.
Marian Burnett serves as the Executive Director of the Crittenton Center in Iowa where she has been working for 40 years. Throughout her time there, she has led with passion, commitment and vision, overseeing the administration of services to over 3,000 women, children, and families annually.