CSS Celebrates its 25-Year Anniversary
25 years strong!
By the mid-1990s, the voices of people with autism and other developmental disabilities, and their families, were being heard. These individuals wanted to be included in their community and be supported to interact regularly with friends and family.
The era of state-run institutional care was coming to an end. New models of services enabled people to live, work, attend school, and enjoy social/recreational activities with needed support. Maryland was closing the state institutions and bringing those who had been placed previously in these facilities, back out into the community. There was an urgent need to build provider capacity across Maryland.
And so, CSS was established to meet the challenge to develop innovative, community-based models of service in Montgomery County. In 1994, CSS offered a two-week summer day camp for 12 children. There were no other summer camp programs available in Montgomery County during those two weeks for children with developmental disabilities. The day camp was located in the basement of a church, and the structured program supported children to participate in community activities within walking distance.
Simultaneously, two delightful young women named Julie and Shannon entered the newly-established adult residential and employment services with CSS. They became ambassadors for the CSS model, as people seeking services could now see what was possible for them, too. Others in need of support quickly found their way to CSS, new homes opened with newly-hired staff, and more lives were transformed.