Our History

The Villages traces its roots to the late Dr. Karl Menninger, who founded the nation’s first psychoanalytic hospital. In the 1960s, Menninger established homes for neglected youth in Kansas, Indiana and Michigan, and was an outspoken advocate against child abuse.

The Villages of Indiana, Inc. was first established in 1978 by a Lilly Endowment initiative. In April 1980, the private, nonprofit, child and family services agency opened its first family model group home in Bedford, Ind. The Bedford home was built with funds from a Lilly Endowment grant on a parcel of land donated by Dr. John Pless.

The Villages has grown exponentially, from one group home in Bedford to more than 20 offices located strategically throughout Indiana. The Villages is now a provider of a wide array of child and family services.

Karl Menninger believed that abused, abandoned or neglected children should have the best opportunity to grow and flourish within a family. To that end, Dr. Menninger’s vision remains a part of every program and service of The Villages.

Love cures people, both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.
—Dr. Karl Menninger

Our Milestones

1978
The Villages of Indiana comes into existence with the help of a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment.

1980
The Villages’ opened its first group homes on land donated by Dr. & Mrs. John Pless.

1983
Two family model group homes are purchased and opened in Indianapolis.
First Annual Juvenile Judges Symposium was held.

1984
The Villages’ Follow-Up Study, authored by The Villages’ Vice President of Operations, Gina Alexander, was published.

1985
The Villages’ Adoption Program was added and the budget crossed the $1 million mark.

1987
The Villages incorporated in Indiana.

1988
The Villages’ Specialized Foster Care Program was initiated.

1990
The Villages’ $2.5 million budget includes expansion of foster care to accommodate 30 children.
The Villages launches its first Capital Campaign.
The Villages creates a Child Development Institute.

1992
The Villages is accredited by the National Council on Accreditation for Children and Families (COA).

1993
The Villages’ Independent Living Program launches, a service for preparing youth for self-sufficiency.
The Villages initiates family preservation and reunification programs.
The Villages offers outpatient counseling services.
Sharon Pierce becomes the agency’s President & CEO.
 
1996
Tapestry, an intensive therapeutic group home program, launches first home in Indianapolis.

1997
The Villages creates an Emergency Shelter Care Services Program.
The Villages’ Foundation surpasses $300,000 in annual cash and in-kind donations.
The Villages becomes licensed to provide Foster Care services in Kentucky.
The Villages begins to provide Healthy Families services in Hancock and Lawrence Counties.
The Villages begins Intensive Family Reunification and Wrap-Around services.
The Villages is selected as Division of Mental Health Provider.
The Villages begins Alternative School Management at Tapestry.
The Villages provides Aftercare child and family services.

1998
The Villages expands its Healthy Families services into Brown and Jackson Counties.

2000
Children’s Village Child Development and Education Center opens in Indianapolis.
The Villages adds Healthy Families programs in Decatur, Delaware and Lake Counties.

2001
Children’s Village Child Development and Education Center opens in Bloomington.

2002
The Villages’ Family Connection Network is launched, providing support and resources for grandparents raising grandchildren, and other family members raising their related youth.

2003
The Villages celebrates its 25th anniversary and is now Indiana’s largest child and family services agency, serving more than 1,200 children each day.

2005
The Villages is selected as one of three Indiana pilot sites for the Healthy Families Indiana “Building Strong Families” initiative.

2006
The Villages adds Monroe County to its array of Healthy Families sites.
The Villages is selected by the Indiana Department of Child Services as the lead agency in an innovative, statewide Recruitment and Retention program to rebuild the Department of Child Services’ foster and adoptive parent infrastructure.

2007
The Villages’ Annual Budget exceeds $25 million.
The Villages receives the “Angels in Adoption” Congressional Award for excellence in services to adoptive families and children.
The Villages is selected by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Grant in Northeastern Indiana.
Pless Family Society launched.
Prevent Child Abuse Indiana merged into The Villages.

2008
The Villages receives the Indiana Achievement Award, an award given to recognize the good works of Indiana’s top not-for-profit organizations that excel in innovation, impact and sustainability.
The Villages adds the Marion County Healthy Families MOM Project to its array of Healthy Families sites.

2009
Dads Inc. merged into The Villages.
The Villages receives a second “Angels in Adoption” Congressional Award for excellence in services to adoptive families and children.

2010
New Indianapolis Administration Building, The Villages’ Child and Family Service Center is opened.
The Villages adds Hamilton County to its array of Healthy Families sites.

2011
The Villages begins providing Post-Adoption Services via DCS contract.
The Villages begins providing Community Partners services in Region 14 via DCS contract.
The Villages is selected by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Grant Expansion in Southwestern Indiana.