Some kids stay one night, others stay for months.

Crittenton Center becomes a home for children when they need one most.  

Our Emergency Shelter is the only one in Northwest Iowa and we welcome kids from all over Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The Shelter serves around 300 children annually and averages 18 kids a month. They are here for a variety of reasons including: abuse/neglect, family problems, parents who have been arrested, homes that are red tagged, some lose foster care placement or have ungovernable behavior, and some children are simply left here. Intended as a short-term home for youth ages birth through 17, our Shelter and Youth Development also provides crisis intervention, family visitation, aftercare case coordination, medical care, and supportive services.


We use a behavior modification management program and provide situation or crisis counseling to deal with personal problems whenever necessary. Physical assessments, routine medical care, medication dispensing, and other medical needs are supervised by the nursing staff. Social workers provide case management and supportive services.


Visits and phone contacts with family are available at the Emergency Shelter. Personal religious counseling is arranged, upon request, and they may attend the church of their choice.


Transportation is provided for youth to attend school and to make necessary appointments in the Sioux City area. Referrals are made to the Shelter by Department of Human Services, Juvenile Court Services, or law enforcement.


Throughout the child’s stay at the Emergency Shelter, our caring staff is there to provide needed support and encouragement.

photo of red hair toddler boy att emergency shelter
Program Activities:
Educational tutoring
Transportation to and from public schools
Arts and crafts
Recreation and outings
Teen group counseling
Life skills and social skills classes on topics such as job searches, cooking, and health
Behavior rewards
Contact Information

For more information about the Shelter, please contact:

Success Stories


Abby was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, Borderline Intellectual Disorder, and on the Autism Spectrum, because of these diagnoses, she takes multiple medications per day.  Abby attends public school. While she was at Shelter, she used to run out of the building and run around outside. Abby was with us because her mom had a very difficult time managing her behaviors.  Abby didn’t have any visitors while she was at Shelter other than her social workers who provided coping skills for her.


Abby has had three placements since initially coming to our Emergency Shelter.  All three placements did not work out. She returned to Shelter because there is no other place for her to go.  Our staff opened their arms and hearts to Abby when they welcomed her back. Crittenton’s Shelter staff provided her with a safe and secure home until her permanent placement was eventually secured.


Crittenton’s Shelter received a call asking if there was an opening for a six-year-old boy named Charlie. When asked about his behavioral and mental health history, staff was told he was an average six-year-old boy. However, when Charlie arrived, Crittenton’s Shelter staff discovered he was Autistic, nonverbal and wore pull-ups.  Charlie also came with a ‘talk box’, which he was 100% dependent upon for communication.


Throughout the time Charlie was there, he learned new words that he could now vocalize. He also bonded well and became friends with several of the staff members. Crittenton’s Shelter staff worked with Charlie on toilet training and learning a bedtime routine. He enjoyed going to the pool, playing with his toy dinosaurs and loved Gold Fish crackers. After his stay at Crittenton’s Shelter, Charlie was placed in a more permanent home to further enhance the skills he learned while in Shelter.