Four Rivers had its beginnings in separate, county programs developed in the 60’s by parents in Greene, Sullivan, Daviess and Martin Counties to meet the educational needs of their children with disabilities. As their children became young adults, and public schools were given legal responsibility for special education, the focus of those early county programs shifted to adult daily living skills and vocational services.
In order to pool resources, those original county programs consolidated in 1986 to become what is now called Four Rivers Resource Services. Since that time, Four Rivers has continued to build upon the responsive, solution-driven heritage created by those founding families.
In the process of overcoming barriers for their service population, Four Rivers recognized that the needs of people with disabilities were often also the needs of others within the community. Lacking substantial resources and specialized services in the rural service area, Four Rivers has taken the lessons learned and expertise gained in disability-related services and extended and/or developed service options for other populations as well, thus filling additional gaps in community services.
Supporting challenged individuals in their homes and communities and success in helping people with disabilities find and keep jobs translated well across other populations. Preschool classrooms that met the needs of children with special needs provided a fun, educational experience for all kids. The home-visiting model that provided early intervention to infants and toddlers offered invaluable experience in undertaking Healthy Families services. Tackling the issues of reliable transportation and affordable housing, obstacles frequently faced by people with disabilities, enabled Four Rivers to also make options available to other individuals and families struggling with those same needs.
Through the years, Four Rivers has not only broadened their service population, but has also continued to expand their service area in response to requests from the state and/or neighboring counties. Four Rivers now provides one or more services in a total of fourteen counties across the gently-rolling farmland and coal mine country of southwest Indiana. Services include: supported living, group homes, job placement and supported employment, work services, adult day services, preschool, Healthy Families, public transportation, affordable housing and information and referral.
The heritage of responding to community needs to support meaningful lives remains a constant part of the Four Rivers landscape, running through all of the changes, growth and expansion of the past twenty-five years.