Who We Are — Our Mission

At DCO, we look to remove barriers to allow all people the opportunity for a life of enrichment and inclusion. Since our inception in 1954, we’ve been committed to helping each person we are privileged to serve to do and be their best. Learn more about our core values, history, leadership and career opportunities.

DCO Mission
DCO Core Values

Our Core Values


Honoring one another’s desire for independence


Empowering others to reach their personal goals


Advocating for choice and full inclusion for all citizens


Respecting one another while promoting unity


Teamwork built on accountability

Our Purpose

DCO serves infants, children and adults who have developmental or physical disabilities or developmental delays — as well as those who do not — through therapies, education and habilitative programs. DCO promotes personal growth through teaching skills that help all citizens of our community to lead full and productive lives.

We Provide

  • Advocacy that promotes full inclusion for everyone.
  • Awareness and information through public speaking, campus tours, printed literature and various fundraising activities.
  • Continued education for families, employers and the community related to developmental disabilities through training classes and presentations.

Our History

The Developmental Center of the Ozarks started in 1954 as the United Cerebral Palsy Center for Southwest Missouri because a group of parents wanted a place for their children to go to school. This organization was founded before special education programs were a part of the public school system. In the mid-1980s, we changed our name to the Developmental Center of the Ozarks (DCO) to better reflect the people we were serving and the services provided. Today, we continue to provide programs and services that can help individuals in the community thrive.

Started as United Cerebral Palsy Center for Southwest Missouri

Changed our name to DCO to better reflect the people we serve


Continue to provide programs that help individuals thrive

Work With Us!

If you believe in DCO’s mission and have the right skill set to work with children or adults in our programs, please visit our employment opportunities page to view job listings. Check back often as we refresh our listings regularly.

Child on Playground

Invested in the Springfield Community

We are a local organization that serves local people, employs local people and fundraises locally. It also means we don’t pay fees to a parent company or organization. One hundred percent of our donations stay within the community.

Our main campus is in Springfield, Missouri, conveniently located off of North Glenstone on Pythian Avenue. Our Therapy Services, while headquartered in Springfield, actually happen all over the Ozarks as our teams of therapists work alongside caregivers and families where they live.

Our Board of Trustees

Our board of trustees is dedicated to helping DCO carry out its mission through strategic oversight and decision-making. Meet all of our current board members and review our latest strategic plan.

DCO Annual Report

Want to see how we’re doing? Read our latest Annual Reports for outcomes, demographics and more.

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in the Developmental Center of the Ozarks. If you have a question about our services, programs or upcoming events, please fill out a contact form to get in touch.