History

Services for persons with developmental disabilities across the nation and in Central Ohio began over 150 years ago. The Franklin County Community began serving individuals with developmental disabilities in 1951. This County Board has a long history of partnering and collaborating with multiple agencies in the Franklin County Community. The agency is committed to “Helping people to live, learn and work in our community”; and currently collaborates with over 100 different agencies in Franklin County to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

This relationship with the greater Columbus community led to establishing the first Center Based Program for preschool age children in 1951, followed by the initiation of Home Visitation in 1958, and an infant program in 1977.

The FCBDD early childhood programs expanded locations to 21 infant, toddler and preschool classes in 14 churches throughout the Franklin County community. In 1981, the programs regionalized into two buildings in Franklin County.

In 1985 the FCBDD Early Childhood Programs began to partner in community settings with children who develop typically. Programs were initiated with Head Start, local school districts, and community early childhood preschool settings.

In 1991 the Early Childhood program piloted a fully inclusive program at a FCBDD facility with a community preschool and a Head Start Program.  This Center continues to operate with the same Head Start agency, with over 200 children enrolled.

The success of these program models have pioneered the interest, energy and enthusiasm of an early childhood community of stakeholders in Franklin County. The agencies joined in partnership to share resources and provide available, affordable, and accessible programs for children with varied abilities and needs, from birth through kindergarten, in one place. (Reference 10 Year Journey, Kloth and Love.)

The Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities Early Childhood Education Partnership cut the ribbon for the opening of the Early Childhood Education and Family Center, September 2001. The Center, in partnership with 5 public and private agencies, provides quality service to hundreds of children each day, with multiple opportunities for learning, in a single setting with qualified staff and caring families.

The Partnership at the Early Childhood Education and Family Center includes:  the FCBDD, the Columbus City Schools, the Child Development Council of Franklin County Head Start, the YMCA Early Learning Center, and the Ohio State University Dental, St. Vincent Family Center.

Two other Centers operate in partnership and services are provided for children with and without disabilities in neighborhood early childhood settings.