Check out the video above for a brief history of KVC Health Systems. Here are a few highlights from our 50+ years of providing heart-centered service to children and families:

1970 – Founded

What is now KVC Health Systems started in 1970 as Wyandotte House in Kansas City, Kansas. It was created by the Junior League of Kansas City, the Ball family and many other community volunteers to help children who were victims of abuse, but being housed in a detention center. Read more about KVC’s early days.

1980 – New Leadership

Wayne Sims joined the organization in 1980 as President and CEO. He served for the next 35 years, contributing some of the organization’s guiding philosophies including, “What would you want for your child?” and “There is no magic answer down the street.” Read more about Sims’ legacy of caring.

1991 – Gold Seal of Accreditation & Children’s Treatment 

KVC became accredited by The Joint Commission, considered the gold standard in healthcare. Also KVC Hospitals’ children psychiatric treatment started.

1994 – Kaw Valley Center

In 1994, Wyandotte House changed its name to Kaw Valley Center. Learn more about the evolution of KVC’s name.

1995 – Building a Proven Track Record

From 1980 to 1995, KVC grew to represent one of the strongest child welfare and behavioral healthcare continuums of care in the nation, allowing KVC to meet the needs of any child and family requiring behavioral health treatment, and adopted a philosophy of treating any child in need, including those with the most complex needs. KVC has emphasized continual research and education, often drawing upon national experts and evidence based practices in its effort to serve all children and families.

1996 – Child Welfare Privatization in Kansas

The Kansas Department for Children and Families (then known as SRS) initiated the privatization of the state’s child welfare services. In that initiative, case management and other direct services formerly provided by the State were contracted to private organizations. KVC was selected as one of the first lead contractors for the family preservation contract.

2000 – Expansion into West Virginia

KVC initiated in-home therapy and child placing agency services (recruiting, licensing, training and supporting foster families) to serve thousands of children in the state of West Virginia.

2003 – KVC Behavioral HealthCare

To better reflect the organization’s national reach, Kaw Valley Center was renamed KVC Behavioral HealthCare. From 2003, “KVC” no longer stood for specific words, however the organization often uses the phrase “Knowledge, Values, Connections” to help tell its story.

2004 – Olathe, Kansas Headquarters

KVC successfully completed a $9 million campaign to construct a facility in Olathe, Kansas which serves as KVC’s headquarters and also houses the Ball Conference Center.

2005 – Adoption Services

KVC became responsible for helping children in foster care to be adopted into forever families when this was added into the foster care/reintegration contracts in Kansas.

2006 – First Children’s Psychiatric Hospital

The Kansas Department for Children and Families awarded a grant to KVC to provide acute, inpatient services to children and adolescents from across eastern Kansas at KVC Hospitals Kansas City. This psychiatric hospital program serves all children and adolescents as screened appropriate by community mental health center screeners. This program has been tremendously successful, offering a more child- and family- friendly treatment program.

2008 – National Recognition

The Annie E. Casey Foundation identified KVC for representing innovation and best practice approaches in child- and family-serving work. Also that year, KVC created the parent organization, KVC Health Systems, which provides administrative services support to subsidiary organizations. (As of 2016, KVC’s subsidiary organizations include: KVC Kansas, KVC Hospitals, KVC Nebraska, KVC Kentucky and KVC West Virginia. All entities work together under a common vision and mission to enrich and enhance the lives of children and families.)

2009 – Nebraska and Kentucky

KVC initiated foster care/child placing agency and in-home therapy services in Nebraska. KVC also expanded its service reach to include Kentucky, where it provides in-home therapy, family preservation programs and foster care/child placing agency services.

2010 – Western Kansas Expansion

KVC opened KVC Hospitals Hays to provide children’s psychiatric treatment to youth in this more rural area of the state.

2011 – Adoption Celebration

KVC hits a milestone with 1,500 adoptions in 1,500 days.

2012 – Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency hires KVC to provide consulting services, share best practices and improve outcomes for children.

2013 – First Child Trauma Training Center

KVC announced the NYU/KVC Midwest Trauma Training Center in collaboration with New York University and Dr. Glenn Saxe, Director of the NYU Child Study Center and founder of Trauma Systems Therapy. In 2013, KVC also completed a major rebranding and chose “People matter” as its new tagline.

2014 – New Institute Planned

Thanks to the generosity of many businesses, foundations, families and employees, KVC broke ground on its new KVC Institute planned for a Spring 2015 open. Also KVC began providing consulting to the country of Singapore in Southeast Asia.

2015 – KVC Institute Opens

The hub of the KVC Institute for Health Systems Innovation, called the KVC Sims Family Center, opens. It is adjoined to the KVC Health Systems headquarters building in Olathe, Kansas.

2016 – Today and Beyond

Jason Hooper becomes President/CEO of KVC Health Systems, succeeding Wayne Sims who served in the role for an incredible 35 years. KVC’s pride in its past is equal to its commitment to the future by providing quality and innovative services to children and families. Read more about KVC as it stands today.

Niles joins the KVC Health Systems family, offering day and residential treatment services to children and adolescents in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. Read more about the partnership here.

2019 – Wichita, Kansas Hospital

Thanks to generous philanthropic supporters, KVC Hospitals Wichita opened to provide children’s psychiatric treatment. In total, due to changes at all locations, KVC Hospitals added 92 new treatment beds for children in 2019-20.

2020 – Commemorating 50 Years of Heart-Centered Service to Children and Families in Need

KVC turns 50! Follow us through this year – and beyond – as we share our gratitude to our employees, supporters, donors and everyone who has helped us come this far; and we make plans for even greater positive impact in the next 50 years. Read more about our 50th Anniversary here.