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Who We Are

Who We Are

Who We Are

Education, Employment and CommunityThe Center meets all requirements of these organizations and is regularly monitored by the IL Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities and Public Aid.

Accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

A member of IARF, the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

A member of People First of Illinois.

Funding Sources

  • Department of Human Services
  • Illinois State Board of Education (various school districts)
  • United Way of Rock River Valley and United Way of Boone County
  • Contributions
  • Sales of goods & services
  • Illinois Department of Public Aid
  • Private pay
  • Residential providers


As a Not For Profit Agency, the Barbara Olson Center of Hope relies on the financial support of individuals, foundations, service clubs, businesses and other organizations. All gifts directly benefit the teens and adults with developmental disabilities enrolled at the Center.


  • The Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Local School Districts and the Illinois State Board of Education
  • The Illinois Department of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities
  • Residential Providers: Milestone Inc., Frances House, Mosaic, Stepping Stones, Singer Mental Health Center, Lawson Children's Home, RocVale Children's Home.
  • Intersect for Ability
  • Illinois Partners for Human Services


  • Anyone who is age 16 years or older who has a primary diagnosis of a developmental disability and in need of active treatment.
  • Residents of Winnebago County, Boone County and surrounding areas as approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Intake information indicating that our services are appropriate and that the individual will profit from his/her involvement with our agency.
  • Medical condition must be stable and physician approves participation in program.
  • Must have a physical exam within twelve months prior to admission.

How Are Referrals Made?

Referrals can be made through Access Services, parents, guardians, and other sources including, but not limited to, the IL Department of Human Services, Department of Public Aid, Office of Rehabilitation Services, school systems. Once the referral is made and funding is approved, the Participant Services staff will gather appropriate information through personal contact and consultation with other service agencies that will help in determining the eligibility of the applicant.

The Center of Hope shall not deny admission for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, marital status, or unfavorable discharge from military service, and shall be in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended by the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972 and all other laws, rules and regulations pertaining to Civil Rights. Such admission shall be accomplished on availability of program space and funding. If all eligibility requirements have been secured, admission will be by the earliest date of application/referral or when funded.

Parents Group/Auxiliary Group

The Parents group began in 1948. The goal of the group was simple: "...interested in having our retarded child educated to the greatest of his ability..." (taken from minutes of the May 31,1950 meeting). Their children were “rejected” by the public schools and so the parents and other community members pulled together with a goal to provide a place for their children to learn and grow. "Our parents group meetings bring us all close to one another as we all face similar problems. They help us broaden our views and make us realize that we are not the only individuals with like problems of helping and educating our children. We want to learn to teach our children on how to get along in this world and make the most of it." (also, taken from minutes of the May 31,1950 meeting).

Today the parents group and the auxiliary group are working on those same principles. The Parents Group meets quarterly with the directors at the Center of Hope so that they stay in-touch with the Center's activities. The Auxiliary Group also meets regularly and holds fundraisers for two fun events for the participants each year: the Summer Bash, and the Christmas Dance. The Auxiliary Group is open to any community member interested in enriching the lives of the participants at the Barbara Olson Center of Hope.


Each participant is assigned a case manager and a QIDP (Qualified Intellective Disabilities Professional). The QIDP meets all State of Illinois requirements including annual continuing education credits.

The Center of Hope employs nursing staff including both Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse.

All Center of Hope staff receive 120 hours of training and are then placed on the State of Illinois registry as DD Aides. In addition, all personnel are annually recertified in CPR, First Aid and on all health and safety issues according to OSHA standards.

The Center of Hope conducts four all-day in-services annually to ensure that all staff receive training that is up to date and appropriate.

Participant Services

The Participant Services staff are responsible for intake, assessment and evaluation of new participants. The staff collaborate with the participant, family, guardian and other professionals in the enrollment process. Funding information and other documentation are handled in a confidential manner. Staff are available to help with any questions or concerns.

If you would like more information about intake or referrals, please contact Kelley Peterson at KPeterson@b-olsoncenterofhope.org or call her at 815-964-9275.

Nursing Services

Our Nursing department consists of a Registered Nurse, a Licensed Practical Nurse, and a Nursing Support staff who monitor medical concerns and provide medication administration. Our nursing personnel are also American Red Cross First Aid/ CPR/AED instructors and respond immediately to all emergency medical issues.


The Participant Services staff are responsible for setting up and providing transportation for the participant at the time of intake. The transportation eligibility, funding and provider are determined prior to enrollment. Modes of transportation include ParaTransit, RMTD, Septran, some residential providers, and families. Depending on the funding eligibility, some families who transport their participants are reimbursed for mileage. Once individuals are enrolled, the Center of Hope Transportation Manager is responsible for monitoring routes and addressing any transportation changes and/or issues.

School Transition Services

Teenagers starting to make the transition from special education in high school to adult services can participate in vocational training and other services at the Center of Hope. School Transition services are paid for by the School District and transition planning is mandated for anyone 14 and over.

Behavior Management

Individual plans are created for any participant who is working on specific behavior skills. Staff work collaboratively with other professionals in implementing behavior management programs.

Social and Recreational Opportunities

Community outings, dining out, special events, holiday activities, and dances are among some of the social opportunities available to participants.

Outreach and Advocacy

The Barbara Olson Center of Hope is committed to awareness of issues affecting the lives of citizens with disabilities within our community. If you belong to an organization that would like to know more about the Center and the people we serve, please contact us. We conduct tours of the Center and are available to speak at your organization's meetings.

For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.