History of New Hope

Download the complete history of New Hope Services written by
Carl E. Kramer

History of New Hope Services

Published in 2009, New Hope celebrates its 50th year with the publication of a comprehensive history of the organization

In the mid-1950s, few disabled children in Indiana, and indeed the United States, had an opportunity for any kind of education that would help them achieve their intellectual and vocational potential. Clark County was no exception. A small number of very severely disabled children might be cared for at state institutions such as Muscatatuck State Development Center in North Vernon. But the education of children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and other forms and sources of disabilities were left to the discretion of local school officials. In most cases, superintendents determined that such children had limited learning capacity and excused them from attending school. Such a decision left it to parents to take whatever measures they could to educate and stimulate their children.

Many parents were unwilling to accept this situation. In communities across the nation they formed grassroots councils to advocate for state and federal legislation requiring publicsupported special education for their children. These efforts spawned national advocacy groups such as the United Cerebral Palsy Association, Inc., created in 1949, and the National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children (later known as the Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States), organized in 1950. Many local councils created classes and schools to educate their children until the goal of free special education was achieved.

Indiana lagged behind the nation in addressing the challenges that faced disabled children and their families. But in 1956 a dedicated band of citizens stepped forward and organized the Indiana Association for Retarded Children, now The ARC of Indiana. The following year, the Association spearheaded passage by the Indiana General Assembly of the landmark Senate Bill 13, which authorized a study of issues related to mental retardation in Indiana. In 1961, with the Association’s support, the General Assembly created the Division of Mental Retardation within the Department of Mental Health and empowered it to initiate a broad range of services to disabled citizens.

Much has changed since the creation of the Indiana Association for Retarded Children and the passage of S.B. 13 more than a half-century ago. Community-based organizations have replaced large-scale residential facilities as primary service providers, and the spectrum of services provided to both children and adults with mental and developmental disabilities has expanded immensely. Public schools are now required to provide the fullest possible range of services for children with disabilities. The delivery of services at both the local and state levels has become increasingly professional, and funding mechanisms have become much more complex. But throughout these decades of change, local organizations such as New Hope Services, LLC have played a vital role in helping people with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential. This book tells the story of those dedicated parents and community advocates who pioneered the movement to better the lives of Clark County’s mentally disabled children and, in the process, gave birth to an organization whose growth during the past five decades has surpassed anything they might ever have imagined. -exerpt from Reflections on the Past: Focused on the Future


1958 – Spring – A group of Clark County parents began meeting. August – The Council for Retarded Children of Clark County, Indiana, Inc. was incorporated.

1962 – October – First class of 14 students began at Ewing Lane Elementary School.

1966 – New Hope School opened in the fall on Hwy 62 between Jeffersonville and Charlestown.

1967 – Ewing Lane class moved to Parkview Jr. High School to accommodate growth. First full-time executive director hired, L. Dean Burkett.

1969 – Satellite classroom for pre-school children opened at Grace Presbyterian Church in Clarksville.

1974 – New Hope Center moved into the former IUS library at 725 Wall Street.

1980 – The corporation name officially changed to New Hope Services, Inc.

1982 – A lot on Spring Street, next to New Hope Center, was acquired to expand the facility.

1984 – New Hope remodeled the Wall Street building and established a screen print business utilizing workshop clients. Another New Hope venture was the manufacturing of sports clocks for various colleges/high schools, including Indiana University.

1985 – Pre-school classroom opened at First Christian Church in Scottsburg.

1988 – A new facility, Kids Place, was built and opened in October with capacity for 80 children.


1991 – A 15,000 square foot adult vocational training and workshop opened in Austin as Futures UnLTD.

1995 – New Hope became the Scott County provider for the WIC program.

1997 – As the result of a major flood affecting Utica and Southern Indiana Counties, New Hope created an affordable housing program, New Home, building 30 homes by early 2000, 45 homes by 2003.


2000 – New Hope was actively involved in tax credit program and broke ground for a 64-unit called Highland Glen Apartments in Scottsburg. They received approval for Quartermaster Court, a 32-unit project in Jeffersonville.

2002 – Seven houses were planned for Pleasant Ridge in Charlestown; Forest Glen, a 37-unit senior citizen project in Elwood, Madison County and River’s Edge, 39-unit apartments in Clinton, Vermillion County was approved.

2003 – Willow Trace, a 36-unit senior citizens complex on Spring Street, was approved. The first-ever capital campaign was organized and raised over $1.2 million.

2006 – New To You, a thrift store/donation center opened on Hwy 131 (Lewis & Clark Parkway) to provide additional revenue for programs.

2007 – A former physicians office building was acquired at 1302 Wall Street to accommodate the Clark County WIC program and expansion of office space. The former Masonic Orphanage on Park Place was purchased for future programming for special needs children.

2008 – New Hope celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary and achieved its first capital campaign goal by raising over $1.3 million. New Hope also received a $500,000 loan from FHLBI for Park Place Children’s Home.

2009 – Park Place Children’s Home officially opened.


2010 – Health Families expanded to include Fayette, Union, and Rush counties. Aberdeen Woods and the 8th and Ohio Flood Relief projects were approved.

2011 – Hope SeniorCare and the Connections programs launched to meet the evolving needs of the people of Southern Indiana.

2012 - WIC adds Jennings county and Jefferson county

2013 - Healthy Families adds Jackson county

2014 - WIC adds Bartholomew, HopeCare Clinic opens

2015 - Healthy Families adds Floyd county

Donate Now

There are multiple ways to help support all the great things we are doing for the community.

Click here to be taken to our secure and easy to use donation area.

Job Postings

New Hope Services provides people with an opportunity to work for one of the largest not-for-profit organizations in southern Indiana

View our current listings.

News & Events

News Page
Download our 2016 Annual Report


Site Map

About Us
Our Programs
Contact Us