Delmarva Community Services, Inc. (DCS), formerly the Dorchester Development Unit, was established in May 1974. DCS has been working in the Mid-Shore area since then to offer persons with developmental disabilities, the elderly and others opportunities to grow through effective care, education and employment.
The Dorchester Development Unit was created by a group of parents and concerned citizens of the Mid-Shore Association for Retarded Citizens. It served as an Adult Day Care Center for many years.
DCS is a multi-service, non-profit agency dedicated to helping people who wish to maintain dignity and an independent lifestyle within their community on the Delmarva Peninsula.
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The Delmarva Community Services, Inc., (formerly Dorchester Developmental Unit, Inc.) began operation in May, 1974 in Dorchester County serving adults who were developmentally disabled. The original program began in the basement of a Baptist Church in Cambridge. The goal of the agency was to assist the clients in maintaining an independent lifestyle within the community. The program began with Day Habitation Services. There were fifteen clients, three full-time staff, and one part-time staff.
In July 1977, a vocational program to create jobs for people with disabilities was established through a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. The program moved from the Baptist Church to Appleby School.
By 1980, there were twenty-five clients, in Day and Residential Services. Two homes served six clients in the Residential Program. There were twelve staff.
The Residential Program was established to allow clients to live in the community supported by trained staff that not only supervised, but also acted as an essential part of these newly created families.
Respite Care began offering services to approximately fifty families. Respite Care gives families with clients who are developmentally disabled opportunity to have support services either in their own homes or in the homes of care providers. The Delmarva Community Services, Inc. offers Respite Care in the nine counties on the Eastern Shore.
By 1984, Delmarva Community Services, Inc. expanded its services and began to offer Medical Assistance Transportation. M.A. Transportation takes individuals with Medicaid to doctor’s appointments around the county and as far away as Baltimore.
Approximately forty-four clients were being served with eighteen of them living in our Residential Program. Family Support Services was extended to one hundred fifty families while approximately five thousand consumers were served. The Agency employed fifty individuals. The Agency continued expansion and by 1989, there were specialized contracts and para-transit services.
October, 1989 brought continued expansion. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. was already serving seniors by transporting them for various services and by providing Respite Care and other services to the community. In view of this, Delmarva Community Services, Inc. acquired the contract from the Area Agency on Aging, MAC, Inc., to operate the local senior centers in Dorchester County. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. began serving congregate meals to seniors age 60 and over. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. also delivered meals to the individuals who were home-bound, frail and elderly.
Medical Assistance Transportation expanded providing several thousand units of services. Thousands of units of service were also provided to senior citizens as well.
During fiscal year 1993, DCS added services to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related disorders and to individuals who were functionally disabled. Day and Vocational clients totaled sixty-five with thirty-two clients living in our Residential Program. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. had eight homes and three apartments. The Agency offers family support to five hundred families.
By 1994, Delmarva Community Services, Inc. was taking on more responsibility because of the needs of the citizens of the county. Because Delmarva Community Services’ clients were aging and needed more of a medical model with specialized services, the Agency opened a Medical Day Care program in Cambridge. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. also opened a home to provide Senior Assisted Housing. Because the North Dorchester area was being under served, Medical Adult Day Care opened in Hurlock, MD.
In view of the fact that the name Dorchester Developmental Unit, Inc. no longer described the scope of the agency’s services, the Board of Directors applied for and received permission in February 1996 to change the name to Delmarva Community Services, Inc.
In July 1997 Delmarva Community Services, Inc. began service in the State of Delaware. Delmarva Community Services, Inc. began renovating its buildings in Hurlock and Cambridge and began construction of a new transit facility.
In July 1998 Delmarva Community Services, Inc. staff moved into its new multi-purpose service center in Cambridge and opened its new transit site in July 1999.
The new millennium ushered in a new decade of expansion of programs offered by Delmarva Community Services, Inc. for the community.
In 2005, Delmarva Community Services branched out into new territory to address the problem of limited housing options for seniors. DCS entered into partnership with “Homes for America” and built a 30 unit senior housing complex adjacent to the North Dorchester Senior Center and Adult Medical Day Care building. The complex which opened in 2008 was immediately filled and residents living there independently were able to conveniently utilize DCS senior services next door.
In July, 2006 DCS received State and Federal designations to serve as the Community Action Agency for the citizens of Dorchester County with the mission of eliminating poverty. With a staff of five people, the new branch of Delmarva Community Services worked swiftly to establish a community food pantry, a transitional group home for men, free tax preparation services and several programs to address housing rehabilitation in both the City of Cambridge and the surrounding county. In 2009, the DCS Board of Directors successfully acted to purchase a new building located at Goodwill Ave to house both the Community Action Agency and the Delmarva Works program.
Delmarva Community Services, transportation division, Delmarva Community Transit has developed a successful public transportation program providing public and specialized transportation services. Delmarva Community Transit has throughout the years won many state and national awards for excellence in performance and service. In 2006 Delmarva Community Transit became the transportation provider for neighboring Talbot, Kent and Caroline Counties.
In 2008 the transportation program was awarded federal funding to create a “OneStop” program to help the elderly, individuals with disabilities, the poor and Spanish speaking persons gain access and use public transportation. A building on the Cambridge property was renovated for use as the “One Stop” and a team was hired to work in the “One Stop” to serve these clients holistically. A senior services worker, community action worker, travel trainer and volunteer coordinator were now in place to join forces to address all of the needs of the clients in one location.
Senior services also expanded as the agency opened a new senior center located in the southern most part of the county. After a five year fund raising campaign, the MAC regional board for Dorchester County purchased a hot meals truck which was donated to the agency. The truck enabled DCS to attack hunger by delivering hot and frozen meals to home-bound seniors living in the far reaching areas of the county.
Delmarva Community Services wasted no time for adapt services and programs to accommodate online learning and social distancing for the growing needs from the food pantry, rental assistance and meal deliveries.
Delmarva Community Service, Inc. broke ground and started construction on the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center at Chesapeake Grove. It was the fruition of nearly seven years of planning and partnering with the City of Cambridge, County Council of Dorchester County, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and countless generous donors.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Intergenerational Center continued to rise throughout the global pandemic and opened its doors in November of 2021. The community looked forward to moving Senior Serivces, Delmarva Works and the childcare center into the Center.
The Michael & Olga Perez Sprouts Early Childhood Center opened on September 6. The infant care program, ages six months to age four quickly reached capacity and had a waitlist.
In April, fully vaccinated seniors returned for programming twice a week. The group of 15 quickly grew to 85 registered attendees.
The Michael & Olga Perez Sprouts Early Childhood Center celebrated the first toddler-to-kindergarten-ready graduation.