History of the Children’s Dispensary & Hospital Association, Inc

The Children’s Dispensary & Hospital Association began in 1909 as a free dispensary to serve the needs of undernourished children in South Bend. Community support, both financially and through volunteerism, allowed the Children’s Dispensary to expand its care to address the medical needs of the community’s children.

By 1919 the Dispensary was open year round and held clinics twice weekly with physicians who donated Children's Dispensary & Hospital in 1925their service. An orthopedic department was established in 1920. Other clinics including dental, eye, ear, nose & throat were also added. During the 1930’s the care increased with the spread of Polio.

With the building of the Northern Indiana Children’s State Hospital in 1947, the orthopedic and physical therapy clinics moved away from Children’s Dispensary & Hospital. By 1966 the medical and dental operations went to St. Joseph and Memorial Hospitals

Staying true it is values of providing for the needs of the underserved in the community, Children’s Dispensary then focused on the social and recreational needs of children with learning, developmental and or physical disabilities. South Bend, IN activities for developmentally challenged children

As a small, yet vital nonprofit organization, the Children’s Dispensary has served the community through progressive and challenging programs for over 100 years. Through generous community support and volunteerism, the organization’s programs and services have evolved through the decades as the needs of the community have evolved. We remain true to our mission:
. . . to enhance the learning and enrich the lives of children with special needs.


“A Place to Be Me” – programming by the Children’s Dispensary, is honored to carry on the mission started in the name of the Children’s Dispensary & Hospital Association over 100 years ago.