The Beginning of CHS
In 1955, the Crippled Children’s Center was founded as a cooperative service model by a group of innovative community members.
Over the past 65 years, the Center has grown and expanded and now serves over 5000 children and adults with disabilities and their families in multiple counties in Central Missouri.
Today, the Center for Human Services includes four (4) Corporations and four (4) distinct program areas: Family and Child Development, Employment Services, Community Living, and Service Coordination.
In 1963, the name was changed to the Children’s Therapy Center. In 2018 the name was changed to Center for Human Services, Inc.
The mission of the agency is “Life Without Limitations”.
During the early 1950’s, local citizens, mirroring national trends, saw the need to provide services closer to home for children with disabilities. At that time, parents were advised to place children with disabilities in institutions or send them to schools in larger cities. So, in 1955, the Crippled Children’s Center was established through funds provided by: United Cerebral Palsy, March of Dimes, and Easter Seals and private community donations.
That year, nine children received services from one teacher in a former nurse’s quarters in the basement of Bothwell Hospital. Ten years later, the center moved to its own facility. In the fall of 2008, children’s services moved to a new facility in the Thompson Meadows Industrial Park. Children’s services currently include Early Head Start and Missouri First Steps.
The Center has grown and adapted over time as the needs of the people that it served have changed. By the mid-1960’s, some individuals who were receiving services were finishing their formal education and needing employment. At the time, it was generally believed that individuals with disabilities were incapable of working. In 1966, the Center’s leaders, working with local business, chartered Missouri’s first sheltered workshop, where employees worked at their own pace and are paid according to their productivity. In 1972, a second facility was opened in Marshall, Missouri, to serve residents of Saline County.
In 1988, the Pettis County workshop moved to the Ewing Vocational Center in the Sedalia Industrial Park. In 2017 and 2018 the Center closed both Sheltered Workshops in response to emerging national trends favoring community employment, and due to low census.
Today, the Center for Human Services is a full-service employment center, providing services through Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (MO VR), Department of Mental Health, DMH; and through private donations. Individuals with disabilities have the choice to work in community settings, with individualized supports. In 2018 CHS Employment Services received the Best Practice Award for Employment from Missouri Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and the Cutting Edge Award from the Missouri Association for County Developmental Disabilities Services (MACDDS). In 2019 CHS Employment Services received the Best Practice Award for Employment from National APSE.
In 1979, responding to the need for affordable and safe housing for adults with disabilities, the Community Living program was added. The first group home, Tower Farm, was home to seven adults with disabilities.
Today, a variety of residential options and support services are available in Pettis, and Saline Counties. Residential options include: Activity Centers offering community and center-based activities, Individualized Supported Living, HUD funded affordable housing with supports, Community housing with individualized supports, and group home settings with 24-hour support.
In February 1996, as a pilot project in conjunction with the Department of Mental Health – Division of Developmental Disabilities, CHS began providing Targeted Case Management services in Pettis and Saline Counties to approximately 300 individuals with seven Service Coordinators.
Today, we are providing Targeted Case Management Services in seven counties, they include Benton, Clay, Dallas, Hickory, Jackson, Platte, Callaway and Polk counties and serve approximately 2500 individuals.