Van Wert County Board of Developmental Disabilities Celebrates 50 years of Serving Area Families
Van Wert County of Developmental Disabilities (VWCBDD) has been in our community for over fifty years, providing services and funds to meet the needs of those with disabilities. The board has a network of over 100 dedicated employees providing an array of services for individuals and families in the community.
It all started in 1967 when, the Ohio House Bill 169 established county boards of mental retardation. That same year, the city of Van Wert established its own charter board consisting of Rev. Dean Check, Edwin Bates, William Hetrick, Robert C. Young, Dr. Harold Smith, Glen Jenkins and Annie Smith. This initiative would not have passed, had it not been for the passionate families and advocates who put in long hours and hard work to get the legislation through the system. The Van Wert community has been positively impacted since the bill has passed.
Since its inception, the role of VWCBDD has evolved tremendously. The board established the first classroom for children with developmental disabilities in 1968 located at the First United Methodist Church. In 1970, an adult program was established and the Board moved to the former Van Wert County Hospital on Central Avenue. In 1978 the Board established the Thomas Edison Center, Inc., a separate, not-for-profit business, dedicated to providing work for adults. In 1979, the Board established an Infant Stimulation Program for children aged birth to 3 years. In 1980, construction was completed on an 8 bed residential facility on North Franklin Street. In 1993, the Board established Van Wert Housing Services, Inc., which is a not-for-profit housing board designed to provide affordable housing for individuals with developmental disabilities. In 1997, the Group Home that was constructed in 1980 was converted into a Residential Facility Waiver home, creating a new funding mechanism for those living there. A State Capital construction project was completed in 1998, providing a new facility on Augustine Drive for adult services. VWCBDD is proud to currently offer many adult programs, pre-school programs, early intervention, residential services, involvement in Special Olympics and employment services.
“The quality of care and compassion for the families in need has been and always will be the number one priority,” says James E. Stripe,
Van Wert County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent. VWCBDD partners locally with both public and private providers for the services offered with the goal to actively pursue quality programs, services, and supports that will assist children and adults in achieving their greatest potential and dignity in all life areas: educationally, vocationally, as a family member and citizen in the community.