In 1976, the women of the Junior League of Eugene created the Lane County Relief Nursery in response to a growing crisis of child abuse and neglect. They began by providing respite care to a handful of children in borrowed space in a church basement. In 1984, the Relief Nursery hired Jean Phelps and under her leadership, the Relief Nursery model developed and flourished.
Since August 1994, the Family Relief Nursery has been serving families in the greater Cottage Grove area. In 1993, members of the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Cottage Grove, Cottage Grove Healthcare Community, Relief Nursery of Eugene, local social service agencies, churches and community business leaders responded to two horrific cases of child abuse to bring Relief Nursery services to South Lane and North Douglas Counties.
Today, there are 25 mature Relief Nurseries and satellite Nurseries in the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries (OARN). All of them are built on public-private partnerships, which include government funding, grants, and community donations. Relief Nurseries are community-driven organizations, which leverage public funds to serve more children and families. Relief Nurseries are grateful for the wide support we receive from the Oregon legislature and the many funders throughout Oregon.