Growing wait list for services leads to big time expansion for ChildServe in eastern Iowa

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:35 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A heightened need for services for children with special needs is prompting a nonprofit to expand big time in eastern Iowa. ChildServe currently has locations in Johnston, Ames, Des Moines and Coralville.

”We originally lived in Webster City and commuted 45 miles to the Ames location, and then we relocated back here to Cedar Rapids and commuted to the Coralville location,” said Tiffany Hoffmann.

Her 14-year-old daughter Kyleigh has been going to ChildServe for around a decade.

”Kyleigh suffers from a catastrophic epilepsy that’s impacted her learning ability, a lot of her mobility,” Hoffmann explained.

ChildServe has helped with several therapies and services. But not every child in need of those services, can access them right now.

”For me, the wait list, there is nothing worse than knowing that families have to wait for services and so I think it’s important for us to meet that need,” said Marie Hassel, Regional Director of ChildServe in eastern Iowa.

With the help of state and federal grants, the organization plans to double the size of its Coralville location with an expansion.

They’ll also open their first satellite location in the Cedar Rapids area, on Boyson Square Drive in Hiawatha. It’s a dream come true for the Hoffmann’s who live nearby.

”My younger kids have grown up in the therapy waiting rooms and in the car transporting to therapies, we currently are doing 4 days a week. And it’ll be a huge change for our family to be able to spend more time at home,” Hoffmann said.

And it’ll help more families get off the wait list.

”It can be 200 deep for speech therapy services, 100 for OT. So there is some significant need there,” said Hassel.

ChildServe went from seeing 600 kids pre-pandemic to more than 1,000 last fiscal year.

Hassel believes more parents were home with their kids during COVID and possibly noticed developmental or speech delays, in addition to visiting their pediatrician more often.

ChildServe plans to break ground on the Coralville expansion in the spring and the Hiawatha location should open in January.