The Nest – Center for Women, Children, and Families was formed in 1977. Originally operating as two organizations, the Lexington Child Abuse Council and the Women’s Center of Central Kentucky, these organizations joined forces to become The Nest – Center for Women, Children and Families!

The organization streamlined the work of both entities into one that could provide high quality, comprehensive services to women, children and families in crisis, while working to prevent child abuse and neglect. The center has continually offered resources for families to develop the skills and education needed for a healthier lifestyle and self-sufficiency.

The mission of The Nest is to provide a safe place for education, counseling, and support to children and families in crisis. We are different than most nonprofits by the way we focus on FOUR separate programs that work together using a holistic approach for the whole family.

All our programs at The Nest, are provided for FREE. Together, these four programs provide a safe and nurturing place for families. We hope to become one of the leading resources for building a strong, self-sufficient community.

The Nest Child Care Center provides drop-in child care to accommodate parents and guardians who are under stress, have appointments to attend to or need time for selfcare. This service allows parents and guardians who have no support system to have a safe and nurturing place to take their children.

Respite Child Care – Our Child Care Program is a State-Licensed 5-Star Rated program. Our program is the only drop-in free respite child care program in the area, and one of the few in the country. We provide a safe and nurturing environment while attending to the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children. We are dedicated to preventing child abuse and provide a high-quality early childhood education.

Crisis Care – Our Crisis Care Program provides necessities such as diapers, formula, toiletries for children and adults, car seats and cribs, and children’s clothing. Our goal is to empower families to move forward in their lives by attending to their current needs.

Domestic Violence Counseling and Advocacy – Our Domestic Violence Counseling and Advocacy Program provides assessments, individual counseling, education and support groups, and legal advocacy for English and Spanish speaking victims of domestic violence.

Parent Education and Support – Our Parent Education and Support Program offers parenting skills assessments, parenting classes, and parenting self-help groups. Parenting classes are structured, curriculum-based courses focusing on effective parenting and non-violent methods of discipline.

The History of the Morton House

The Nest is located in the Morton House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. William Morton, commonly known as “Lord” Morton because of his ruffled shirts and old-world courtliness, purchased lot 76 between Fifth and Sixth Streets in 1795 for one sterling shilling. Morton was an immigrant from England, via Baltimore, who had been a successful merchant in Pennsylvania. In Lexington, he established a drug store at the corner of Main and Upper Streets as well as being involved with other businesses. Lot 76 was approximately 22 acres. In 1810, Morton built his home facing what was then Mulberry Street, now North Limestone. The interior was decorated with furnishings from England and Philadelphia.

The Morton House is an example of Federal style architecture. It is constructed in a five-part pavilion composition. Among early Bluegrass houses, it is unique for its stucco covered brick walls.

The walls were then scored to imitate stones and quoins were simulated at the corners. The house has a triple hip-roofed mass. Fan-shaped steps made of Kentucky marble led to the entrance.

The two large rooms across the back of the house were originally the library and drawing room. The dining room was in the main part of the house to the left of the entry hall, while the kitchen and two bedrooms were in the left wing. The right wing contained more bedrooms.

After William Morton’s death in 1836, his two daughters sold the property to Cassius Marcellus Clay for $18,000. Clay was the son of the largest slave-holder in the west. In his newspaper, The True American, he defiantly spoke out against slavery, making him one of the most hated men in the state of Kentucky. He temporarily left Kentucky with his family in 1850, later returning to White Hall in Madison County. In 1860 President Lincoln sent him to Russia as his representative.

After the Clays sold the property, it went through the hands of two families -the Warfields and the Duncans. It is the Duncan family for whom the park surrounding the house is named.

Diapers Given to Families in Need in 2018

The Nest cannot serve families without your donations. Not only do we need monetary support, but we also need physical goods to continue to help those in need. Find out more information on how you can help on our donations page!