Agency Chronology


Hamilton County Council for Retarded Children (HCCRC) organized by parents concerned about the lack of programs, facilities, and services for their children with mental retardation


HCCRC starts the county’s first educational programs for children with mental retardation


HCCRC begins operation of a sheltered workshop program for adults, located in a colony building at East Oakley School


Attorney General of the State of Ohio rules that all school programs operated by private agencies must be transferred to the direct operation of county welfare departments

Hamilton County Welfare Department (HCWD) creates a Division of Services for Retarded Children to assume operation of the 12 school-age classes (school-age program expanded rapidly, each year adding 2 or 4 new classes)

A second workshop opens in the western sector of the county


HCWD school-age program moves to Stowe School, marking the first time that classes were centralized


HCWD school-age classes relocate to Dyer School

First physical education classes offered

First speech and hearing screenings and therapy are offered

First nursing services offered

For the first time, pupils also participated in a wide range of school activities, including band, chorus, and sports teams complete with cheerleaders and pep squad


Ohio Amended Senate Bill 169 establishes county boards of mental retardation with responsibility for home training, pre-school and developmental classes, community classes, sheltered workshops, and adult activity centers

Hamilton County Board of Mental Retardation (HCBMR) organizational meeting.

         Frederick A Breyer appointed HCBMR Administrator
         Margaret B. Rost appointed Program Director
         Robert W. Franks, Chairman
         Stuart Warshauer, Vice Chairman
         Mrs. William E. White, Secretary
         Fr. Edward Connell
         Eugene L. Geier
         E. Roger Jackson
         Dr. John W. Shreve

Board contracts with Hamilton County Welfare Department (HCWD) to operate educational program at Dyer School

First Girl Scout Troop for children with mental retardation formed at Dyer School

Dyer school filled; 2 classes added at nearby Heberle School


A contract agreement between HCBMR and the Hamilton County Council for Retarded Citizens (HCCRC) to “provide training centers, workshop facilities, and services approved by the Hamilton County Commissioners

Board contracts with Resident Home for the Mentally Retarded of Hamilton County, Inc.(RHMR) and United Cerebral Palsy


Classes added at Sands School; continue at Dyer and Heberle Schools


First Speech Therapist hired

First Home Trainer hired

Organizational meeting, Ohio Mental Retardation Boards Association


Children’s Services Division established as HCBMR assumes direct operation of Dyer School and other community programs from HCWD (497 children enrolled)

Employees of Retarded Children’s Program of the HCWD transfer to the   HCBMR

Board begins hiring its first employees

First adult activity center established for individuals unable to benefit from workshops

Margaret B. Rost appointed Administrator/Superintendent

Planning for “new school” begins


HCBMR assumes operation of preschool classes from HCCRC (46 preschoolers)


Adult Services Division established as HCBMR assumes operation of workshops and adult activity centers from HCCRC

Work Activity Centers, Inc. of Hamilton County, a non-profit corporation, is established to handle all business operations at HCBMR adult centers

Contract with Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders (CCDD) for diagnostic preschool classes


First Mental Retardation Tax Levy (1.5 mills) passes with 60% of the vote

Building program begins; property for north school (Breyer) and adult center (Beckman) acquired

ESEA Title I Project Funding begins

Board hires first school nurse - pupils benefit from improved health service delivery

Fire/explosion at Eastern Hills Center - 2 days later is back in operation

DDA grants sub-contract with Ohio Valley Clinic and Monfort Heights Developmental Training Center


Board begins Residential Division; assumes operation of Virginia Perin House from HCCRC

 Federal government consolidates participation in funding of social services through passage of Title XX to the Social Security Act

Contract with Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD)


Frederick A. Breyer School opens; Wyoming preschool phased out

Classes at St. Joseph Home begin, serving children with multiple handicaps

Early Intervention Program begins for children birth through 2 years of age

First Physical Therapist hired

Contract with CCDD for clinical services begins


First Occupational Therapist hired

First Boy Scout program begins at Breyer School


Foster Grandparent Program places volunteers in buildings


Second Mental Retardation Tax levy (1.34 mills renewal) passes with 73%  of the vote

 Elmer P. Beckman Adult Center begins operation; Northern Hills Work Activity Center closes

E. Roger Jackson Adult Center begins operation; Eastern Hills Work  Activity Center closes


Amended Substitute Senate Bill 160 adds developmental disabilities to the Board’s title (HCBMR/DD)

Bobbie B. Fairfax School begins operation; classes at Church of the Redeemer and Eastwood phased out

Eugene Geier House begins operation

Agnes Manney House begins operation


Margaret B. Rost School begins operation; Dyer School closes; classes at Our Lady of Lourdes and Westwood Methodist Church phased out

Robert W. Franks Adult Center begins operation; Western Hills Work Activity Center closes

Dan Tehan House begins operation

Board hires first psychologist


Margaret B. Rost retires as Superintendent after 23 years of service

Thomas H. Kidd appointed Superintendent


Third Mental Retardation Tax Levy (1.34 mills renewal/.58 mill increase)  passes with 65.9% of the vote

Orient Developmental Center closes; former Orient residents begin attending adult centers and living in Hamilton County

Second shift added at Beckman Adult Center to handle increased workshop population

Planning for additional adult centers begins

Board hires first Behavior Management Specialist

Contract with Association for Retarded Citizens-Hamilton County (ARC-HC) for Family Resource Services Program (FRSP)


Northside Adult Center begins operation

Contract with Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

Contract with Work & Rehabilitation Centers of Greater Cincinnati, Inc.


State mandate given to provide case management; contract with CCDD for case management services

Contract with RHMR to provide Emergency Residential Service (ERS) and Community Integrated Training and Education (CITE)

Contract with Cincinnati Recreation Commission for therapeutic recreation


Supported Employment Unit begins operation


Evendale Adult Center begins operation

Contract with Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) for Adult Services

Contract with Habilitation Opportunities, Inc. (HOI) for supportive foster care


Fourth Mental Retardation Tax Levy (1.92 mills renewal/.81 mill increase) passes with 66.1% of the vote

Integrated Preschool Program begins

Work and Activity Centers, Inc. of Hamilton County changes name to The General Assembly, Inc.

Contract with University Hospital to provide psychiatric and behavior management services and in-hospital treatment


Supported Living services/supports based on individual choices

Contract with Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board for  Forensic Project


Operation of Case Management Services assumed from CCDD

Housing Network of Hamilton County, Inc. begins to purchase houses for individuals with MR/DD



Integrated early childhood and early intervention classes begin at YMCA Child Development Center West in Price Hill


Integrated early childhood and early intervention classes begin at Arlitt Center at the University of Cincinnati

Northside Adult Center receives Demonstration Work Site Grant from Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Employee councils formed at each General Assembly workshop

Agency  schools adopt Ohio Early Childhood Curriculum

Housing Network of Hamilton County, Inc. receives The Arc Services Innovation Award

Adult Services receives Ohio Conversion Grant funding

SENIORS (Supported Efforts to Negotiate Integration Opportunities and    Resources for Seniors) targets older adults with disabilities

New Mission and Vision statements adopted

Staff Recognition Project recognizes and rewards agency service

Pilot in Family to Family foster care reform plan

Virginia Perin House closes; residents transferred to community living


Early intervention services begin at Duvall Center in Mt. Healthy

Fifth Mental Retardation Tax Levy (2.73 mills replacement levy) passes with 56.9% of the vote


Early intervention services begin at Smith-Flowers Civic Center, Lincoln Heights

Family & Children First Initiative

General Assembly Training Site Grant enables individuals in adult centers to gain experience through volunteer work at non-profit agencies


Early intervention services begin at Carll Street Center in North Fairmount

Several classes at St. Joseph Education Center end, most students move to Fairfax School

Senior Companion Program volunteers begin at agency adult centers


Parent Partner Program at Carll Street Center, North Fairmount and Northside

Preschool classes start at Kemper Heights Elementary School


External Evaluation commissioned to examine contracted operations

Smith/Flowers Center dedicated

Community Resources Department created - replaces Case ManagementServices and Residential Services

Training Department created

Administration of group homes contracted by Toward Independence

 Northside Center closes

“Leaders in Action” forms as self advocacy group with 4 members who  receive services


Work groups established to oversee development & implementation of  Strategic Plan 2000-2004

Housing Network of Hamilton County, Inc. and Catholic Federation for the Mentally Retarded build first accessible home in Hamilton County on Elwynne Avenue in Silverton

Elementary class begins at Hilltop School in Reading School District

Sixth Mental Retardation Tax Levy (2.73 mills renewal levy plus increase of .8 mills) passes with 59.7% of the vote


Housing Network of Hamilton County, Inc. and Catholic Federation for the Mentally Retarded build second accessible home in Hamilton County on North Bend Road in Mt. Airy

Quality Assurance/Training Department created

Elementary class begins at Miamitown Elementary, Southwest School District

First accreditation (3 year) statewide under new ODMRDD regulations received

Thomas H. Kidd retires as Superintendent

Cheryl Phipps appointed Superintendent


Housing Network of Hamilton County, Inc. and Catholic Federation for the Mentally Retarded build third accessible home in Hamilton County in Northside. Home wins Citirama Award.

Quality Assurance/Training Department assumes responsibility for investigation of Major Unusual Incidents from Community Resources

First Annual Report to the public detailing agency status as of 2000

Third elementary class at Mercer Elementary in Forest Hills School District

Swaim Lodge Group develops model for agency-wide single servic coordination

Teams One and Two organized for regional service facilitation


Rost School dedicates Multi-Sensory Environment Room made possible by a $33,382.80 donation from Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis Club

1st annual Awards Banquet honors significant achievement

Community Ambassadors formed to represent agency at community events

Begin contracting to provide evaluations for up to 200 infants and toddlers with intense medical needs at Children’s Hospital

Additional classroom added at Miamitown Elementary to support intermediate age students


2nd annual Awards Banquet

Commissioners initiate a rigorous Tax Levy Review Committee process 

First CARF accreditation –  programs deemed outstanding

5-year Ohio Department of MR/DD accreditation received – 1st in state

Fairfax School dedicates Multi-Sensory Environment Room

Regionalization of services in remaining regions finalized

Transition Team formed to assist students in moving to work environment

5th classroom at Amity School in Deer Park for intermediate aged students.

Forest Hills Schools take over operation of the satellite classroom at Mercer Elementary


3rd annual Awards Banquet

Seventh MR/DD Tax Levy passed in November with 62.1% of the vote

Southwest region begins individual budgets

Collaboration with 22 school districts and Help Me Grow to develop the Evaluation, Planning and Assessment Team (EPAT) to evaluate children birth to 2 years old for eligibility

First high school unit opened at Deer Park High School


Implementation of tax levy stipulations began in full force

Self-Determination and person-centered planning celebrates 10th  anniversary; history published

Individuals Served Information System (ISIS) Project began

Itinerant Support Team won National Association of Counties (NACO) Award

 5th Annual Awards Banquet draws more than 400 participants

Focus of adult centers changed to providing services for individuals with the most severe disabilities

Mobile Work Crews from the adult centers transferred to contract agencies

Housemate matching resulted in 113 individuals who had formerly lived alone being paired with a roommate to meet tax levy stipulations

Supported Employment unit operated by the agency contracted to private providers

Dr. Francis J. Hickey ends eight-year service as a board member

1st Summer Adventures for All Kids Expo

Cheryl Phipps awarded lifetime achievement honor by SWORA

Community Ambassadors Resource Alliance (CARA) forms to raise money and awareness for the special needs of people with disabilities

Community Resources Department renamed “Community Services”

Club Central starts at Northside

Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) completed with 48 retirees

4th Annual Adapted Equipment/Resource Fair 

Martin Miller and Scott Harsh join the board

CAFS funding discontinued

Cheryl Phipps elected president of Ohio MR/DD Superintendent’s Association

3rd Annual Health Fair held for individuals with disabilities

Preschool services transferred to Hamilton County Educational Service Center and Cincinnati Public Schools – discontinuation of preschool services provided directly by the agency

Next Chapter Book Clubs begin

Lajuana Miller and Joanne Schreiner leave the board after many years of faithful service

Additional classroom opens in the Deer Park District to support high school students


Dianne Koehler, member of Leaders in Action (LIA), appointed to serve on the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

Franks celebrates 25 years of service on 3/9/06

3-year CARF re-accreditation received, with more accolades

1st Annual Wheels for Wishes event raises $1,800, draws 200

Linda Kunick, an LIA member, elected President of People First of Ohio

Lindsay Brillhart, MR/DD Advocacy Support staff, elected Secretary of People First of Ohio

ISIS operational, old computer system- CTOS- finally retired

Frederick A. Breyer School closes after 30 years

Speaking Up newsletter became part of the newsletter circulation at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Lynn K. Sundermann ends 12 years of service as a board member

Annual banquet draws more than 400 for 5th year

Arc of Hamilton County celebrates 60 years of service

Individual Budgets available for all

Futures Group starts to move agency to next level of self determination

Rost School celebrates 25 years of service

Megan Sexton named Disney Teacher of the Year 

First “Speaking of Women’s Health” all-day session for women with disabilities by grant from National Speaking of Women’s Health organization

New Support Center building purchased at 1520 Madison Road

1st Day Program provider fair held

Department of Community Services begins Community Links program with Joe Erpenbeck as lead (ABCD)

National Association of Counties achievement award received for implementation of self determination

CARA became a nonprofit organization

New satellite starts at Rees E. Price Academy with Cincinnati Public Schools – joining satellites at Amity Elementary in Deer Park, Reading Hilltop Elementary, Deer Park Junior High School, and Miamitown Elementary

Consolidation process from three schools (closing of Breyer) into two schools (Fairfax and Rost) is completed

St. Joseph Home opens new respite center, completes renovations of existing cottages

Web site revised to include expanded information for families, individuals – address changed to

EPAT worked intensely with Help Me Grow to dramatically reduce county-wide waiting list for Early Intervention services

A student curriculum was developed that supports all aspects of self determination to be used in agency operated schools.


Quality Assurance/MUI/Training Department significantly reorganized nearly all-new staff, Charlie Stenken becomes new director

Michael Rench, Director of Community Services, moves to ODMR/DD;

Marti Estep replaces Michael

Cindi Andrews, Julie Holt and Pat Leary join the board as new members

Support Center moves from Blue Ash to East Walnut Hills

Behavior Support Futures Group initiated

Advocacy Leadership Network (ALN) formed

ALN and Cheryl Phipps deliver keynote address to statewide Arc   

Conference on self determination and to PAR on the history of MR/DD services 

Activity Supervisors are hired for each adult center to develop appropriate recreation and leisure opportunities.

My Life! My Way! My Choice! Curriculum is written and copyrighted

Wellness for Life Curriculum is developed by agency nurses for use in adult centers

North Star group formed to lead initiative to provide services that are free from unnecessary restraint and seclusion

Classroom for students with autism formed at Fairfax School

Blue Ribbon Group formed, training self advocates how conduct satisfaction interviews with other people receiving services.

Joe Erpenbeck, Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Coordinator, presents at national TASH conference in Seattle.

Kim Hauck became a member of the Advisory Board for the Special Education Department at the University of Cincinnati.

2nd Wheels for Wishes CARA fundraiser nets about $2,200

2nd Speaking of Women’s Health Day with grant from Speaking of Women’s Health Foundation for women with disabilities


Commissioner David Pepper tours adult center and school; newly-elected Commissioner Greg Hartmann tours

Quality Assurance Department renamed Quality Improvement.  Director Charlie Stenken retires.  Alice Pavey hired as new director.

10th year anniversary of “Leaders In Action,” advocacy group that now has over 100 active members and many awards and accomplishments

General Assembly, Inc., celebrates 35 years

New members of Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) tour Jackson Adult Center

2nd year of staff and individuals’ participation in the Hope & Possibility Walk attached to the Flying Pig Marathon

Collaboration with the Council on Aging begins for a music therapy program using Clavinovas

Peggy Kurz, Director of Adult Services, appointed chair of the State Behavior Support Advisory Committee.

Seven staff and advocates present at “Building A Better Tomorrow” best practices conference in Kansas City

QI/MUI Department combines with Community Services Department; Marti Estep retires and Alice Pavey becomes Director of the combined department, now called Community Services

Peggy Kurz, Director of Adult Services, selected as 2008 Public Administrator of the Year by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), Greater Cincinnati Chapter

Autism Respite program begins, partnering with Ohio Valley Residential Services, Kelly O’Leary Center, Residential Management Systems (RMS) and Arc of Hamilton County. 

Agency receives second five-year accreditation from the Ohio Department of MR/DD – first in the state to do so!

Satellite classroom at Miamitown Elementary wins Rooted in Hope award from the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

Cheryl Phipps, Superintendent, receives Kenneth J. Legats Lifetime Achievement Award for Visionary Leadership at the Ohio Association of County Boards of MR/DD annual convention.

Launched a bold and inclusive strategic planning process to identify “What Matters Most” to people with disabilities and their families.  Used café conversations and other creative methods to identify five core themes for 2008-2014.

Early Intervention classroom at Carll Street moved to Concordia Church in the central region

The Evaluation Planning and Assessment Team (EPAT) implemented a new eligibility tool called the Battelle

Hamilton County Early Intervention and Help Me Grow was 100% compliant in timely receipt of services (families receiving service they choose) and 95% compliant for the 45 day timeline (evaluation and first IFSP completed).

Itinerant Support Team begins a new initiative with two school districts focusing on the needs of the educational staff as they continue to meet the needs of a changing, challenging student population.

Mrs. Strickland, First Lady of Ohio, visited Support Center

The Transition Team was selected to participate in a pilot with Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).  The team included a family member, administrator, transition coordinator and teacher.

Kim Hauck appointed regional representative to Ohio Association for Services to Children (OASC)

3rd annual Speaking of Women’s Health Day  

3rd Wheels for Wishes CARA Fundraiser nets about $4,400

7th Annual Agency banquet draws more than 400


CARF survey results in re-accreditation for three more years, with seven exemplaries and an additional 24 strengths noted

People for MR/DD Services formed to oversee levy fundraising

8th Annual Agency Banquet draws record crowd of 425

4th Wheels for Wishes Fundraiser nets more than $3,000

Agency wins three Ohio Public Images awards for “Live! For the MR/DD Levy” fundraising event, redesigned web site, Advocacy in Media Committee of CARA

Agency recognized with Above and Beyond Award for employer support of the National Guard and Military Reservists

8th MR/DD Levy passed in November with 68% of the vote, the highest percentage since 1974.

Agency name changed to Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services in response to legislation passed to “remove the R word” from the names of state agencies.

Agency wins the Cincinnati Business Courier’s “Best Places to Work” Award in the Grand Category for employers with over 600 employees.


Agency holds 9th Annual Awards Banquet with the largest attendance ever.

Agency wins Ohio Public Images awards in the categories of Audio-Visual Productions, Special Event or Public Relations Effort and Self-Advocacy

4th Annual Wheels for Wishes event raises over $4800

Agency named one of the top 10 finalists in Cincinnati Enquirer Best Places to Work

Agency wins three awards from the National Association of Counties (NACO) for Vision 2014, the Co-Occurring Resource Group and the Emergency Preparedness Initiative

Agency wins Public Relations Society of America Blacksmith Award for Levy Campaign and Silver Award for Levy Commercial.

Advocacy Leadership Network members successfully lobby Hamilton County Commissioners and Cincinnati City Council to remove the word “Handicapped” on all new signage.  “Accessible” and the universal accessibility logo will be used instead. 

Self Advocates Robert Shuemak and Linda Kunick appointed to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council.


Agency holds 10th Annual Awards Banquet with record attendance of over 500 people.

5th Annual Wheels for Wishes event raises over $5400.

Cheryl Phipps retires as Superintendent.  Alice Pavey appointed Superintendent by the Board.


CARF survey results in re-accreditation for three more years

Regional Service Facilitation office combined into one location at Queensgate. Organization change from regional teams to service specific teams (e.g., Children’s team, Multi-Systems team)


Agency wins Ohio Public Image Award for its website redesign. HCDDS nominee Reporter Tony Mirones, of Channel 9 WCPO, won an award for his use of People First Language in “The Comedian is more than a Crippled Girl” story in the summer of 2012. HCDDS nominee Mike LaRosa, of LaRosa’s pizza, won an award as employer of the year. 

Leaders In Action participated in local advocacy efforts to promote passage of Medicaid Expansion laws

Agency receives five-year accreditation from Ohio Department of DD.

Agency begins Tax Levy Review process in preparation for a levy campaign in 2014.


Agency completes the Tax Levy Review process and renewal levy is placed on May ballot.

Agency successfully passes renewal Tax Levy with 75.08 percent voter support, the highest percentage since beginning of the tax levy.