The mission of the Guernsey County Board of Developmental Disabilities is to ensure the availability of programs, services, and supports that assist eligible individuals with developmental disabilities in choosing and achieving a life of increasing capability so that they can live, work, and recreate in the community, and to assist and support the families of these individuals in achieving these objectives.
September of 2017, marked the sixtieth year that services have been provided to those with developmental disabilities from Guernsey County. As such, the Guernsey County Board of DD is celebrating the strides that we, as a community have made with respect to opportunities for the education, employment and enhancement of the lives of those with developmental disabilities. The Board believes that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to educating the community to expand and encourage acceptance of individuals with developmental disabilities. Whereas, the Board encourages individuals to live as positive contributors to the community, by promoting programs designed to enable every individual to achieve the maximum development of his/her potential in the least restrictive, most appropriate environment.
The County Board's beginnings can be traced to a group of parents and friends who, in March of 1957 joined together to organize and finance a training program. This group became known as the Guernsey County Council for Retarded Children. The group was authorized through the then Guernsey County Child Welfare Board.
In September of 1957, the first class of eight children was started in a basement room at Central School in Byesville. As the needs of the community changed, so did the services and opportunities provided by the Guernsey County Board of MRDD. The "MR" was removed from the official name of the state cabinet agency and each of Ohio's 88 county boards in 2009 by Governor Ted Strickland and Director John Martin from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.
In November of 1969, adult training began and together with three full classes of school age children, services were provided to Guernsey County residents and Noble County residents paying tuition to Guernsey County Board of MRDD. A total of 44 persons were served at that time.
As clients utilizing services and the services provided to those clients expanded, in November of 1972, discussions began concerning the building of a new campus to house the program serving both adults and youth at that time. After an extensive search, the Board decided on a tract of land along State Route 209 across from the Cambridge Country Club. The cost of the land and building was shared by the County with the Ohio Department of MRDD. IN the late summer of 1977, ground was broken from the new Golden Rule School. On November 5, 1977, the new Golden Rule School and G.N.C. Workshop building were dedicated.
Shortly after the new buildings were opened, the need for community residential services arose. In response, the Guernsey County Board of MRDD entered into a contract with Guernsey Residential, Inc. and with RIA (Respect, Integrity and Acceptance), Inc. to provide community residential services for individuals. This relationship is one that is still in place today.
With the ever increasing needs for sheltered workshop employment, the County Board expanded the Golden Rule building and Guernsey Industries in 1997 to expand Adult Services. At the time, Guernsey Industries, was the only adult program providing employment in a sheltered environment for adults with disabilities in our community. Today there are 8 adult day centers.
The services the County Board provides have evolved from its humble beginnings over sixty years ago to a facility that offers a multitude of opportunities and quality services for those individuals with special needs to allow them to develop to their fullest potential. The County Board provides services to individuals at all stages in their lives.