Mrs. Ruth Ball
Mrs. Vashti Russell
Mr. Marion Russell
Mr. Lynn & Mrs. Hazel Russell
Russell Child Development Center (RCDC) began in 1965 when a group of parents and concerned citizens in Garden City, Kansas opened a daycare facility for children of all ages with developmental disabilities. The first location was the Optimist Building. Later, Mrs. Ruth Ball rented the home of her parents, Vashti and Marion Russell (pictured at left), to the facility for $1 a year asking only that it be named in their honor. Thus, the name “Russell” Child Development Center. This home was later lost to urban renewal and RCDC moved three more times, settling at 621 Garden City Avenue for a number of years.
In 1976 RCDC began enrolling children of preschool age after the passage of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) required schools to assume the responsibility of providing Special Education services to all eligible children of school age. As RCDC outgrew its home on Garden City Avenue, plans for a new preschool facility were made. The original Community Development Block Grant building at 714 Ballinger opened for classes in 1980. In 1992, IDEA added a new requirement for schools to provide Special Education services to children beginning at the age of three. By 1996, RCDC was providing Early Intervention to children aged birth to three under a new provision of the IDEA. Since that time, the shift has been made from providing primarily center-based services for infants and toddlers with special needs to direct supports in the more natural environments of their homes, child care settings and community environments in thirteen Southwest Kansas counties. These services are now known as RCDC’s tiny-k Program.
Over the years, Russell Child Development Center, as a community based not-for-profit agency, has also had the privilege of becoming the parent organization for three additional early childhood programs: Targeted Case Management, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and most recently the Building Blocks Early Childhood Block Grant.
Thanks to the vision and dedication of many Southwest Kansas individuals, Russell Child Development Center has flourished. The organization has had a positive impact on the lives of countless children and their families over the years, enjoying a reputation of providing high quality services with integrity. With continued support and responsible stewardship, Russell Child Development Center anticipates a long and bright future ahead.