A BRIEF HISTORY
DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES OF DICKSON COUNTY
The Dickson County Adult Activity was initiated by a group of parents and other interested citizens in 1974. Services began for 18 adults with intellectual disabilities in the old Jackson Clinic building, then a part of the United Methodist Church of Dickson. In 1975 the agency assumed management of a group home in White Bluff housing 17 adults. In 1976 the program, then serving 35 adults, was moved to the old Sylvia schoolhouse.
In 1979 the agency opened a group home for six women in Dickson. Later that year, the program moved to a newly renovated facility on East College Street in Dickson. In 1980 a group home for ten individuals opened on Poplar Street, closing the larger group home in White Bluff.
In 1981 the agency began operating early intervention services, initially serving seven children in a program the families named Foundations. Also in 1981 the agency changed its name to Developmental Services of Dickson County.
In 1982 the agency assumed management of the former Goodwill program. It was called DS Industries and Budget Store and was located on Mulberry Street in Dickson. Later in 1982, the first newly constructed group home, the W.V. Lightfoot home, was opened on West Fifth Street in Dickson. This home replaced the home on Main Street and was home for eight women.
In 1984 the agency moved its day services and administrative offices to a facility on North Main Street in Dickson. Later the DSI Budget Store was moved to the same location.
In 1985 the Foundations Preschool Program expanded and hired its first full-time teacher. Eighteen children and families were served. A collaborative program with six other programs to employ a pediatric physical therapist to serve young children was also started in 1985. Subsequently Foundations expanded into Cheatham and Robertson counties and today serves over 85 children and families.
Also in 1985, the newly constructed Buckner Group Home was opened on Highway 48 North. Serving ten adults, it brought the number of persons served in residential programs to twenty-one. In 1985 fifty adults were served in day services.
In 1986 the agency initiated services in Houston County for adults. A new position to develop community-based jobs for persons with disabilities was created and the first consumer gained full-time employment in the community. 1986 featured the first Balloon Flyaway, an agency fund raising event held in conjunction with Old Timer’s Day in Dickson.
In 1987 the agency began offering Medicaid funded services for persons previously institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization. A home for eight elderly women, the Michael Group Home, was opened on Sylvis Street, the Cauthen Group Home for four women was opened on Center Avenue, and the Burns Group Home was opened for four men. The DSI Budget store was closed to create more space for the new adults entering the program.
In 1987 the agency received its first grant for developing community jobs from the state Division of Rehabilitation Services. In 1988 the agency also opened its first work crew site at Maxwell Graphics, later Quebecor. Services continued to expand in community jobs and community participation until in 1999 the agency closed its sheltered workshop and transitioned everyone into community-based day activities.
In 1991 the first supported living services opened, providing in home services to two women in their own home. Other sites followed in 1992 and most every year afterward. As people moved into supported living and more community-scale homes, the group homes began to downsize or close.
In 1993 the agency began providing Family Support services to families containing a member with significant disabilities. These services were initially offered in Dickson, Houston, and Humphreys counties. In 1994 services were expanded to Cheatham County. In July 2012 services will begin in Montgomery and Stewart counties.
In 2001 the agency initiated the Mid-Cumberland Child Care Resource Center to provide training and technical assistance to child care providers in Dickson, Houston, Cheatham, Robertson, Montgomery, Stewart, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Trousdale, Humphreys, and Sumner counties. Later renamed as the Mid-Cumberland Child Care Resource and Referral, the program expanded in 2003 with several programs to assist military families in the state and region. In July 2012 the program will also provide services in Davidson County.
Today, Developmental Services supports over three hundred adults and children in a variety of home and community-based services. Developmental Services employs over two hundred and eighty staff members in eight counties and expends an annual operating budget in excess of $9.0 million.