In 2014, Children's Care Hospital & School and South Dakota Achieve joined together to form LifeScape.
Children's Care was built to treat children recovering from polio
Children’s Care Hospital & School opened in 1952 as the private, non-profit “Crippled Children’s Hospital & School,” a citizens’ grass roots effort to provide rehabilitation and education to children recovering from polio. Until then, children often never returned to school after recovering from the acute phase of their illness, as buildings were seldom accessible. As the polio threat waned, children with other disabilities were admitted, but the early mission of the organization was to serve children with physical disabilities only. More children were “mainstreamed” into public schools in the 1970s, and Crippled Children’s began serving children with more complex disabilities – the result of modern medicine’s ability to save sicker and more premature babies. Also in the 1970s, the organization began serving children in their own communities through the outreach program. The organization acquired an outpatient center in Rapid City in 1985, and was able to provide services throughout the state. The name changed to Children’s Care Hospital & School in 1994, and an outpatient rehabilitation center opened in Sioux Falls in 1999, serving children and adults. In 2012, Children’s Care celebrated its 60th Anniversary.
South Dakota Achieve began with 11 families who wanted to keep their children in their home community
The story for the former South Dakota Achieve began in 1958, when 11 families in Sioux Falls began to seek services for their children and others with intellectual disabilities, wanting them to have a chance at meaningful lives in their own community. The Sioux Chapter Workshop for the Mentally Retarded was formed and provided day services only. The name evolved to Sioux Vocational Services to reflect the progression of programs offered, and in 1969, residential services began. Special education laws were enacted in 1975, and schools started serving children with intellectual disabilities. Sioux Vocational then began specializing in supporting adults and older adolescents through residential, work, and volunteer programs. In 1979, Sioux Vocational became South Dakota’s first agency to be nationally accredited, challenging it to be more responsive and innovative in its services. As a result, the agency became wheelchair accessible, offered retirement and other meaningful day opportunities, and focused on finding community employment opportunities. It also launched specialized programs for those with traumatic brain injuries and Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2006, the name became South Dakota Achieve, and in 2013, the organization celebrated 55 years of service.
The two organizations followed similar paths over the years. During a conversation over a cup of coffee between Achieve’s CEO Anne Rieck McFarland and Children’s Care interim CEO Dave Timpe, the idea of joining the two organizations was sparked. The Boards of Directors of both organization supported exploring the possibilities. Similar missions, vision, and values, as well as unique areas of expertise encouraged the Boards to take action and seriously explore the merger of these two strongly, highly respected agencies. After nearly eighteen months of exploration, the boards of the two organizations voted unanimously to join South Dakota Achieve and Children’s Care. On April 1, 2014, LifeScape was formed.
LifeScape continues to provide all of the services of Children’s Care Hospital & School and South Dakota Achieve to an anticipated 2,500 children and adults through programs in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and many communities and school districts throughout South Dakota. By offering support throughout the lifespan, the two organizations are truly “better together.”