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Stark County Resources

The following is a list of some of the primary resources available to families. 



  • The Arc of Ohio – is a national non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There is a chapter in Akron, Ohio. 

  Website: www.thearcofohio.org 

  Phone: (234) 571-5689


  • ASPIES is an all volunteer organization dedicated to assisting those on the Autism Spectrum in Summit, Stark, Tuscarawas, Portage, Wayne, Medina, and Cuyahoga counties. 

               Website:  www.Aspies.org  

               Phone: Joy Spencer at (330) 745-5115

               Email: Rreindeer@aol.com 


  • Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps – is a state program which provides medical coverage for children up to 22 years of age who have a medical handicapping condition and meet medical and financial eligibility criteria. Information can be obtained through the Stark County Health Department. 

  Website: www.starkhealth.org  Go to CMH in the left column. 

  Phone: (330) 493-9932


  • Call 211 for Essential Community Resources – Operated by United Way, this information system connects you to expert, caring help, linking you to important community resources in order to meet your needs. 

  Website:  www.211.org 

  Phone: 211


  • CARE TEAM INITIATIVE - Local county governmental and educational organizations have partnered to develop a collaborative model that supports the success of students throughout the county.  These partnerships offer funding and services to over 100 CARE Team school buildings in 21 school districts served by the Stark County Educational Service Center. Cross-disciplinary building-level teams are formed to actively work with students and families who are struggling to be successful. 

                  Website: Understanding the C.A.R.E. Team Initiative - Stark County ESC  

   Phone: (330) 492-8136


  • Early Childhood Resource Center – promotes the healthy development of young children by strengthening families and improving the quality of early learning experiences. They offer a wide array of programs and services for children and their families. 

  Website: www.ecresourcecenter.org   

  Phone: (330) 491-3272  


  • GiGis Playhouse - is a Down Syndrome achievement center in Canton, Ohio. It is one of over fifty such centers across the country. Their mission is to change the way the world views Down syndrome and send a global message of acceptance for all. They offer a variety of programs that have a therapeutic and educational focus that are free. 

  Website:  www.gigisplayhouse/canton.org 

  Phone: (330) 493-9114


  • Golden Key Center for Exceptional Children - is a school in Canton, Ohio. It is heavily focused on meeting the needs of children with Autism as well as children with developmental disabilities. They offer before and after school care. 

   Website: www.goldenkeyschool.com 

   Phone: (330) 493-4400 


  • Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty: Jennifer Lile, CELA – Jennifer Lile is a director with Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Company, L.P.A.  Her practice focuses on the areas of estate and special needs planning, trust, probate and elder law. 

   Website: www.kwgd.com/attorneys/jennifer-l-lile-cela

   Phone: (330) 497-0700


  • Little League® Challenger Program - was founded in 1989, and is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. Any individual with a physical or intellectual challenge may participate. The Little League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 4-to- 18; or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school. The Senior League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 15 and above (no maximum age).  The Canton league is open to both male and female athletes playing in coed teams.  

                 Website: http://cantonchallengerbaseball.org/contact-us/ 

                 Facebook: Canton Challenger Baseball 


  • The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) - is a national organization dedicated to empowering and providing hope for recovery to those impacted by mental illness.  There is a chapter in Stark County area and they offer support groups, education programs, resources and advocacy. 

                Website: www.namistarkcounty.org 

                Phone: (330) 455-6264  


  • People First in Ohio - is a national model for self-advocacy for people who have disabilities. It is focused on mobilizing adults who have disabilities and teaching self-advocacy skills and awareness. There are chapters throughout Ohio and Stark County’s chapter can be contacted through Paula Gardner at the Stark County Board of DD. 

    Website: www.peoplefirstohio.org


  • Sharing Solutions – Beth Miles and Jodi Broom are working diligently to host community meetings for both families and providers. They meet 6 times a year at the Twins Restaurant in North Canton and focus on the needs of adult-age children who have developmental disability. There is always time for informal networking and eating. The hosts often help individual families link to services. Information about them and their upcoming meetings can be found on Facebook.


  • Stark County Board of DD - The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities is a tax-supported county agency that exists to connect individuals and families with the services they need for health, safety, education and a high quality of life throughout their lifetime. They offer a variety of programs is the areas of Early Intervention, Preschool, School Age, Heath, Transportation, Adult, Family Support, provider identification and training, and funding. 

   Website:  https://starkdd.org

   Phone: (330) 477-5200

   * A great list of community resources can be found on one of their webpages: https://starkdd.org/resources/guardians-and-caregivers/community-resources/


  • The Stark County Family Council – is a tax-supported organization dedicated to building an effective system of care for families who have complex needs. The Council manages funds from state and local child-serving agencies to develop and implement programs and services that have proven to be effective. It is housed along with the Stark County Educational Service Center on the campus of Stark State College. Their programs include: Help Me Grow/Early Intervention and Home Visiting, Ohio Children's Trust Fund/Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Family Engagement, Multi-system Youth care management. 

   Website:  https://www.starkfamilycouncil.org

   Phone: (330) 492-8136

  1. Wraparound is a best practice model that creates individualized teams who work together with families to address complex, multi-system needs. The goal of this is to prevent out-of-home placements and promote family success. This program is implemented by the Stark County Family Council in partnership with many other social service partners.
  2. Help Me Grow – is a program funded by the Ohio Department of Health and administered locally by the Stark County Family Council. Home visitors work with families who have children ages birth to three who have special needs. 
  3. Family Engagement Committee – is an emerging committee that brings parents together to learn about community services and assist with the planning and implementation of plans to improve the county’s system of care.   


  • State Support Team – Region 9 (SST-9) – This department of the Stark County Educational Service Center is dedicated to providing best practice training and education to teachers in the special educations systems across the county. They also provide supports to families who have children being served in special education. Deb Bates is the Parent Mentor on staff to provide individualized parent support and information.  

   Website: https://www.starkcountyesc.org/Administration2/10  

   Phone: (330) 492-8136



NOTE TO READER:  If you know of other helpful resources that benefit families caring for children and adults who have special needs, please share their information with us and we will add it to this list. Please contact Amy Morris at amy@pegasusfarm.org