Our History | ChildServe


The Junior League Convalescent Home, which served children recovering from diseases such as rheumatic fever, Tuberculosis and polio, was established in a home located on the grounds of the now Iowa Methodist Hospital.



The Junior League Convalescent Home moved into a new and larger home built on land donated by Hubbell & Thompson Estates at 28th Street. The home could serve 20 children, and had cared for 112 children by the end of the first year of operation.



The Junior League transferred ownership and responsibility for the home to an individual community Board of Directors. The name was changed to Convalescent Home for Children.



The Convalescent Home for Children began providing respite which gives families a break from daily demands when caring for a child with special health care needs.



The organization began serving children from outside of Polk County, and was licensed as a skilled nursing facility for the first time.



Several beds were re-licensed as intermediate care for children with mental retardation.



The Polk County Board of Supervisors granted $40,000 to the Home to study the development of a new Home with a capacity to serve more children.



The new Convalescent Home for Children, located at 5900 Pioneer Parkway, opened and was licensed to serve 60 children. The keynote address at the facility's opening was given by Governor Robert Ray.



The Board approved a strategic vision to serve more children in residential group homes and through home/community based services. The Johnston House was opened. The adaptive equipment workshop was developed and called Assistive Solutions. The service is now known as ChildServe Adaptive Equipment.



The Des Moines Hearing and Speech Center merged with the Convalescent Home for Children. By 2000 the center expanded to include occupational and physical therapy; and serving children had become its new focus. The Center was renamed ChildServe Therapy.



Community Options merged with the Convalescent Home for Children. This non-profit organization began offering respite and supported community living services.



Integrated childcare was offered when the Hilltop Daycare Center in Ames was purchased. This was the first time the organization offered childcare services for children with and without disabilities.



The Convalescent Home for Children partnered with Polk County Health Services to become a case management provider. The Convalescent Home for Children incorporated a new non-profit corporation to provide homecare. The next year it was certified by Medicare and is now known as ChildServe Homecare.



The Variety Club ChildServe Center opened in Ames. The facility houses Hilltop Daycare, a 10-bed respite center, homecare, supported community living, therapy and adaptive equipment. The Board approved a new strategic plan for the organization to respond to growing residential and community service needs.



The Convalescent Home for Children changed its name to ChildServe.



ChildServe purchased Village Square Daycare Center in Johnston and began providing integrated childcare in the Des Moines community. The center is now known as the ChildServe Childcare Center - Johnston. The ChildServe Foundation completed the ChildServe Vision Campaign. Hundreds of people in the community contributed more than $4 million. The new ChildServe Center in Johnston opened. The center houses Des Moines-based community services including adaptive equipment, homecare, respite, supported community living, therapy and case management, as well as administrative and ChildServe Foundation offices.



ChildServe began its 75th year of service. The first annual ChildServe Run for the Kids was held on May 22, 2004. Camp ChildServe, an integrated summer day camp, was established and accredited.



ChildServe was recognized by the Des Moines Register as the winner of the Aurora Award.



Six homes were opened. The Stelter Fisher Transitional Care Unit opened in July 2007.



The consolidation of Daycare for Exceptional Children with ChildServe was completed, and ChildServe Woodland Center opened on January 1, 2009, providing specialized daycare services.



ChildServe hosted The Bubble Ball, our first signature event, on April Fools Day. Several new therapy rooms, a Sensory Gym and four physician rooms were added in the Outpatient Therapy wing. After an extensive review by the Iowa Quality Center, we were given a bronze level award from Governor Branstad. At the Woodland Center, we completed the transition from daycare to day health services.



In March, a new nonprofit corporation, The ChildServe Clinic, Inc. was added. ChildServe received national accreditation for the first time by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).



Construction began on the three-story 60,000 square foot expansion to the ChildServe Center in Johnston. ChildServe added new services in the areas of Psychology, Day Health and Day Habilitation.



ChildServe's Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine program officially kicked off with the hiring of Dr. Fred Klingbeil, a board-certified pediatric physiatrist. The program added several other professionals and began the development of a network that included Mercy Children’s Hospital and Clinics and Blank Children’s Hospitals. The expansion to the ChildServe Center was completed in the summer of 2014 and grand opening celebrations took place in the fall of 2014.