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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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HILLS & DALES CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER. A pioneer in community services for mentally and physically challenged children, the Center was begun by Elaine BARWICK who found that care facilities for non-ambulatory physically and mentally handicapped children were hours away from Dubuque. (1) The Center was designed to offer training to children from birth to 18 years of age. When the child reached the limit of the program, he/she would be phased back into the home. (2) The philosophy was based on Barwick's belief in "shapability of intellect" meaning that every child was capable of mental and physical growth with the proper stimuli. (3) Parents who enrolled their children at the privately financed center could receive local, state and federal financial aid.

Construction of the Center at 1011 Davis Street was completed on November 15, 1973. The facility was opened with five children and reached the licensed capacity, within fifteen months.

In May, 1975 six workers were fired for alleged union activities. The workers were later reinstated, but charges of unfair labor practices were filed. In September, 1975 Dry Cleaners Union 180 of Madison, Wisconsin lost an National Labor Relations Board-sponsored election to determine if 57 workers at Hills and Dales could affiliate. The NLRB later ruled labor practices at Hills and Dales probably swayed the election. The dispute ended in May, 1976. (4)

In 1995, Hills & Dales had the first program in Iowa certified under the Home Community Based Service for the Mentally Retarded Waiver. In-home service included Supported Community Living, a program planned to help families provide their child with opportunities for training in areas including recreation and leisure, communication and access to public transportation. The Respite Service provided short-term relief for caregivers. Home and Vehicle Modification enabled caregivers to have consultation before modifying family vehicles or their home.

In 1997 there were 42 children being helped. All school-aged children attended school with special services providing adaptive equipment. Consultants from the community including dentists, medical doctors, occupational and physical therapists, and speech pathologists were assisted by special education support provided by the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT and the Keystone Area Education Agency.

Barwick served as the executive director of the Center until January 1, 1997, when her daughter, Jan Imhof, an administrator at the facility, took over the position.

In 2000 fundraising activities for Hills & Dales included a "Halloween Harvest" at KENNEDY MALL. Proceeds helped cover costs not covered by federal and state funding including large equipment used by the children and improvements to the building. (5)

"Challenge Day" sponsored in 2001 by Hills & Dales, Special Olympics of Iowa and the Variety Club was held in the Stoltz Sports Center at the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE. The facility was set up to accommodate modified Special Olympics events and each participant had at least one personal attendant to assist with the sports events and crafts. (6)

In 2005 Hills & Dales applied to offer an elderly daycare program for the mentally handicapped. There was also the possibility of a daycare for children with disabilities. Anticipating that the program could start during the summer of 2006, Hills and Dales planned to use space in the former bowling alley it owned on Stoneman Road. (7)

Hills & Dales Timeline: (8)

1973--Hills & Dales was founded as a foster care facility serving five residents.

1976--Educational opportunities were provided on-site through the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

1982--Residents began attending off-site integrated programs within the public school system

1985--Hills & Dales is licensed by the State of Iowa as an Intermediate Care Facility for Mentally Retarded

1992--Hills & Dales establishes the first Community-Based In-Home Service Program in the State of Iowa

1995--Hills & Dales began supporting residents who became 18 years of age

1996--Jamie Barwick Hills & Dales Foundation was created and the apartment living program was established

2000--Established the Building Meaningful Lives funding progrm for facility renovation and expansion

2003--Completed the renovation and expansion of the Residential Center at 1011 Davis Street

2004--The Iowa Certificate of Need Council approved funding for four additional residents for the Hills and Dales Residential Center

2005--Acquired the property at 3505 Stoneman Road for the expansion of Home and Community based programs

2006--Hills & Dales assumed the senior services of the Dubuque LifeTime Center and congregate meal program, five Hills and Dales programs received a three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, expanded community-based programs, offering Group Respite, Day Habilitation and Summer Day Camp experience

2008--Launched the Building Meaningful Lives Now & Forever capital campaign, established and opened a center to provide childcare and preschool opportunities for all children.

The 1987 through 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 1011 Davis.




1. Gross, Kate. "Trio Helps Fill Service Void," Telegraph Herald, June 30, 2005, p. 1

2. Gatch, Calvin Jr. "A Dream, A Philosophy, a Child Care Center," Telegraph Herald, November 25, 1973, p. 29

3. Ibid.

4. "Hills and Dales, Union Accord," Telegraph Herald, May 13, 1976, p. 7

5. Hogstrom, Erik. "Kennedy Mall Set to Host Event for Hills and Dales," Telegraph Herald, October 18, 2000, p. 3

6. Nevans-Pederson, Mary. "Special Athletes, Volunteers Up to the Challenge," Telegraph Herald, March 18, 2001, p. 15

7. "Lifetime Center Might Find New Home," Telegraph Herald, February 28, 2006, p. 1

8. "Celebrating 35 Years Hills & Dales," Advertising Supplement to the Telegraph Herald, November 2, 2008