Developmental Services Center 1304 W Bradley Av Champaign  IL 61821 217-356-9176


The Developmental Services Center (DSC) is a comprehensive organization that provides services and supports to children and adults with developmental disabilities. The 244 person staff serves approximately 1,300 consumers a year and of these about 300–350 each day. DSC manages 15 facilities including group homes, work/training sites, and apartment complexes, as well as the variety of services including case management, family support, residential, developmental training, and employment training. The DSC serves Champaign, Ford, Piatt, and Iroquois counties.

The DSC welcomes volunteers to help with game nights, arts and crafts, technology support, yard work, etc. All volunteer opportunities require some training depending on the level of involvement.

Everything DSC does revolves around their mission: “to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by providing services and supports which enable them to live, work, learn and participate in their communities.”


According to the Developmental Services Center (DSC) Website, DSC was officially created in 1972 and brought together what had been four separate organizations: The Champaign County Rehabilitation Center, Happy Day School, Mayor’s Action for Retarded Children, and the Togetherness Club.

Champaign County Community Rehabilitation Workshop The Champaign County Community Rehabilitation Workshop was founded in 1962, led by Champaign’s Mayor Emmerson V. Dexter. The workshop began with five clients, a volunteer Director, and rent-free space sponsored by the Holiday Inn. The first major donation to the workshop ($5,000) came from the Junior Service League. Volunteers operated the workshop from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. five days a week and the first contracts included sharpening knives, sorting coupons, and repairing Coke cases. By the end of the first year the workshop had 14 clients.

In 1962, the organization moved to a vacant wing of the Outlook Sanatorium and the name was changed to the Community Rehabilitation Center. In 1963, the center and the State of Illinois Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) signed their first working agreement.

In 1966, the staff grew to three full-time positions and the center was serving 30 clients. In the first four years of the center’s operation, more than 104 people received services. In July of this year, the name was changed again, this time to the Champaign County Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) and the center became a member agency of the United Fund (now the United Way).

In 1969, the CCRC moved again to accommodate an increase from 28 to 50 clients.

Happy Day School

In 1960, the Champaign-Urbana Association for the Mentally Retarded was created by a group of six to eight families, assisted by an advisory group, to complement the Unit 4 Special Education classes provided to children aged 7-15. The Happy Day School began with a day care center serving three children ages three to five, and with an activity class in the afternoon with children over 14 in space donated by the First Presbyterian Church in Champaign.

In 1961, Happy Day School hired their first full-time teacher, and in 1962 the first major donation came from the United Commercial Travelers and Junior Woman’s Club. In 1963 the first Executive Director was hired. By 1965, 50% of the budget was funded by a Grant-in-Aid program from the State of Illinois Department of Mental Health and staff included a director and four teachers. By 1965, Happy Day School day care was serving 18 children and the activities class had 8 students.

The Mayor’s Action for Retarded Children (MARC) and Togetherness Club

The Mayor’s Action for Retarded Children (MARC) and Togetherness Club programs were founded by members of the Champaign County Rehabilitation Center and Happy Day School, respectively. In 1966, Mayor Emmerson V. Dexter began the MARC program, a four-week summer camp at Lake of the Woods designed for handicapped children over five. In 1967, the Champaign County Association for the Mentally Retarded (CCAMR), later the Champaign County Advocacy & Mentoring Resource, took over the MARC program. In 1967, the City of Rantoul and both Champaign and Urbana Park Districts began providing support. In 1969, 18 people attended the first Togetherness Club meeting, a club sponsored by the CCAMR that was designed to provide “recreational and cultural enrichment activities to handicapped teenagers and young adults in the area.”

Recent History

In 2006, two new group homes, funded by a county developmental disabilities tax implemented in 2004, opened in Champaign. These homes took 13 new clients and 3 existing clients from other group homes (Wurth, The News-Gazette).

By 2007, DSC was helping 1,300 people a year, about a 50% increase from 2004. And in 2008, DSC served 1,400 people (Wurth, The News-Gazette).

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