About Bi-County Services
Bi-County Services (BCS) History, Services and Distinctions
Bi-County Services, Inc. (BCS) is a 501 c 3 non-profit that provides services for special needs individuals living in Adams and Wells Counties in Indiana. Individuals must be 18 years of age or older to participate in the Day Services, Sheltered Work Shops, and residential group home services. School age children and adults may participate in personal attendant care, Residential Habilitation Services, Community Integration and Music Therapy services.
Recognizing that all individuals have dignity and worth, it is the mission of Bi-County Services to enable individuals with disabilities to make choices and to live, learn, and participate meaningfully in their community.
To provide meaningful services that promote quality of life, increased independence, improved productivity and encourage and support community integration.
In 1968 BCS, then the Association for Retarded Children (Arc) of Adams and Wells County was started in Vera Cruz, IN. Its mission was to provide educational opportunities for intellectually, developmentally and physically disabled school age children. A few years later the organization opened a sheltered workshop for adults with intellectually, developmentally, and physically disabilities.
In 1974, BCS opened its first residential group home in Adams County. The Arc continued to grow in Vera Cruz until the Indiana Department of Health condemned a portion of the public utilities forcing BCS to relocate.
In 1989 the BCS raised money from the state, county, city, foundations, businesses, organizations and the local community to erect a new building at 425 Harrison Road in Bluffton. The Board of Directors also wanted to address the stigma of “retarded” in the organization’s name. It was changed to Bi-County Services, Inc.
In 1995, BCS started providing services under the Medicaid Waiver Program. This program has grown to the point that more consumers are receiving services under the Medicaid waiver than in BCS’s residential group homes. BCS currently has 5 residential group homes (2 in Decatur, 2 in Berne, and 1 in Bluffton) and 12 waiver homes providing residential services. All but 4 of the waiver homes have 24-hour supervision. There are also numerous individuals throughout both counties that receive a variety of non-residential services.
In 1998, a Music Therapy Program was started within the Day Services Program at the Harrison Road location. A board certified music therapist heads the program, along with the help of two music interns. Music Therapy interns from colleges and universities throughout the United States spend a semester working with special needs music students. BCS is one of the few Music Therapy internship programs statewide. Two Music Therapy and Creative Movement Performances are held each year in May and December in partnership with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective.
In 2008, the Whicker Field T-ball field was opened in partnership with the Dream Team. In July each year, special needs children from ages 5-18 play T-ball twice a week. A few years later the field was utilized by the Bluffton T-ball league for daily games from May through June.
In 2017, the Whicker Park Inclusive Community Playground held a held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of this ADA playground. In partnership with the Boys and Girls Club, Whicker Park was 3 years in planning, fundraising and building this $750,000 playground. It has been a big success for Bluffton and the surrounding communities.
Residential Group Homes:
BCS operates group homes in Adams and Wells Counties which have 24-hour-a-day staffing to provide support for personal health, safety and wellbeing. This program also has health care services available around the clock. In the residential settings six to eight individuals with physical and developmental disabilities learn to be independent as possible through activities that teach daily living skills. The residents participate in recreational and leisure activities in both home and community based settings.
This program offers support to those who live in community settings such as apartments, shared homes and with families. Support includes assistance with budgeting, shopping, leisure activities, community integration and more. Our staff provides assistance needed to allow individuals to achieve their level of greatest independence.
Plan development, maintenance and routine monitoring of the waiver participant's medical services to optimize the individual's health care services.
Our goal is to provide quality, individualized services and support through small groups, individual activities and community involvement. The individuals we serve receive a large variety of choices based on their personal preferences and individual needs. There are many activities available to choose from including: volunteering, community service, crafts/hobbies, self-advocates group, special interest, leisure activities, Special Olympics, fitness classes that provide activities of specific interest to our consumers. Several Alternative Day Programs are available that are offered offsite Tuesday through Thursday in both Adams and Wells counties.
Educational opportunities include: safety skills, reading, math, cooking, healthy lifestyle, recreation, culture, spiritual, computer, communication and job skills development. Use of community services and resources such as WOW public transportation and the YMCA in Wells County are encouraged.
These programs are offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM with some special evening events.
Decatur Workshop produces pallets, crates and other wood products through the efforts of special needs individuals working with BCS staff. Bluffton Workshop provides paid work options that include; sorting, assembly work and shredding.
Transportation Vehicle Fleet:
Wells County offers public transportation through the Wells County Council on Aging’s Wells on Wheels (WOW) program. This wonderful service is regularly used by the people BCS serves. The Adams County Council on Aging provides transportation for special needs individuals and senior citizen activities such as shopping, appointments and other similar types of trips. Adams County is not able to provide all types of public transportation, thus BCS provides transportation for non-group home consumers to Day Services in Bluffton and the BCS Sheltered Workshops. Our five group homes have their own accessible vehicles to provide required transportation for programs and activities.
Music Therapy Program:
This program is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional. Music therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. Music Therapy is normally offered during the Day Services hours of operation.
Community Integration Program:
The focus in this program is on introducing and integrating the clients into society. Trips to the library, animal shelters, swimming pool, civic center, concerts, parades, art museums, zoo, botanical gardens, circus, sporting events, shopping, volunteering, employment by local businesses, summer camps, local state park, garage sales, river pathway walks, 4-H activities, offers a richer and more inclusive life. The consumers also provide community service through their volunteer work and chorus groups performing at local medical facilities.
The BCS Fitness Center was started in the May of 2014. The center’s coordinator holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Ball State University, with a double minor in Adapted Physical Activity and Sports Medicine. She has built a program that addresses specific individual needs through scheduled fitness center classes provided daily.
The Dream Team T-ball partnership enables special needs children to “play ball” each summer. BCS built a T-ball field at their Harrison Road property as the Dream Team did not have a place to play. Community volunteers serve as coaches and helpers at the T-ball games. A refreshment stand and accessible restrooms have been added to the field area. The Bluffton T-ball League supports over 300 community children in playing T-ball at the same field.