In 1937, Edith and Wendell Foster learned that their five-month old daughter, Louise, had been born with severe cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Thereafter, the Fosters committed their lives to helping children with complicated developmental disabilities.
Drafted in World War II, Wendell Foster seized the opportunity to meet with physicians specializing in care for the disabled children in the various states where he was stationed. At the end of the war, Wendell returned to his home in Owensboro, KY, bringing with him the knowledge imparted by the medical specialists.
In the 1940's, social stigma prevented families from taking their children with disabilities to public places. To find other children with disabilities and offer help, the Fosters made door-to-door-calls. This effort yielded contact with seven families whose children had cerebral palsy and other conditions. Offering their home as a meeting place, the children received physical and occupational therapy in the Foster's backyard. Soon, larger quarters were needed to accommodate the growing number of children from families seeking the Foster's care. In 1947, the Fosters relocated their home to property owned by the prominent Slaughter family located at 815 Triplett Street in Owensboro.
Day care, school, respite, and therapy was offered in the huge 11-room residence. A volunteer Board comprised of Daviess County World War II Veterans incorporated the agency, adopted a charter and by-laws, and officially founded the Spastics Home and School.
In honor of its aging founder, Wendell Foster, the school underwent a name change in 1970 to become known as the Wendell Foster Center. In March 2000, the Board Of Directors changed the name to Wendell Foster's Campus for Developmental Disabilities to reflect the expanding array of services and programs offered.
Governed by a 23 member Board of Directors Wendell Foster's Campus For Developmental Disabilities is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. The mission that guides the organization states that Wendell Foster's Campus is an organization which provides individualized supports, therapy, and training that empowers individuals with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other developmental disabilities to realize their dreams and potential.
Recognized as a leading program in the Commonwealth, the Campus ICF/IID has received many deficiency-free surveys conducted by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Division of Healthcare Facilities and Services.
The Campus' mission has flourished for over 65 years through support from the community, volunteers, and foundations.