teacher with child

Founded in 1938, the Blind Children’s Center (BCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides FREE high-quality early childhood education programs for children ages 18 months to 5 years-old (Head Start, Early Head Start, CA State Preschool). We also offer Early Head Start services for infants and toddlers from birth through 36 months and pregnant mothers. BCC has specific expertise in supporting very young children who are blind and visually impaired and those with multiple disabilities. Our small class sizes, experienced staff and specialists all lend to individualized instruction and support for each child in our program.

As a delegate of Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) our programs are funded in part by the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, and California Department of Education. Additionally, BCC solicits donations from private foundations, businesses, and individual donors to support our programs for children and families.

We are committed to a family-focused approach where parents, siblings, grandparents, and caregivers are included in the educational process every step of the way. In keeping with best practices, our programs are fully inclusive with sighted children integrated in each class, providing unique opportunities for social interaction and acquisition of critical skills. Our multidisciplinary team of experts utilizes leading-edge technology and adaptive devices to help our students who are visually impaired keep pace in the sighted world. As a model program, the Center impacts communities globally through presentations, conferences, and research grants, as well as a full suite of publications for families and professionals. In all, more than 750,000 copies of our publications have been distributed in 75 countries, and translated into 17 languages.

Our Mission

The Blind Children’s Center prepares infants, toddlers, and preschoolers of all abilities to thrive through inclusive, family-focused early childhood education, with a specialized focus on children who are blind or visually impaired.

Our Vision

All children are fully included in early learning programs where they can experience belonging and reach their fullest potential.

Preschool girl with glasses placing wooden circles on peg

Our History

The vision for the Blind Children’s Center developed out of the Delta Gamma Fraternity’s 1936 Convention, where Ruth Billow, a DG from the University of Akron who was blind, stood before the Convention body and requested that “Aid to the Blind” be adopted as their official philanthropy. A committee of Los Angeles alumnae groups united to find a need in the area and discovered that while there were several schools for the blind, no resources existed for preschoolers and their parents.

A team of committed Southern California alumnae volunteers, led by UCLA’s retiring Head of Medicine, Dr. Lillian Ray Titcomb, founded the Nursery School for Visually Handicapped Children in a private home on October 3, 1938. The school was the first of five founded as part of Delta Gamma’s Service for Sight initiative.

By 1940, it was evident that the Nursery School needed to expand in order to effectively serve its students. Dr. Titcomb formed the Cradle Club in 1940, which was designed to meet the needs of infants who are visually impaired and their parents. After changing locations twice, the Nursery School concluded that it needed a permanent building constructed specifically to accommodate preschoolers who are blind.

The Nursery School launched a fundraising campaign at the 1946 Delta Gamma National Convention to bring attention to this need, generating financial support from Delta Gamma chapters in 25 states. Further efforts expanded the fundraiser’s reach beyond the Delta Gamma community and generated publicity for the Nursery School through articles in Photoplay, Screen Guild, McCalls, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post.

The Nursery School soon became nationally recognized as a model program. By 1952, over 2,000 American and international guests had visited the school’s various locations. Medical and educational professionals eagerly came to the Nursery School to learn from the teachers’ practical experience with children who are visually impaired and study the school’s educational methods.

That same year, a Building Committee was formed to find a location and an architect for a permanent facility. Paul R. Williams, one of the finest architects of his generation, was chosen for the project, providing his skills at a reduced fee due to the philanthropic importance of the project. The Nursery School’s dream building, and the current location of the Blind Children’s Center, opened in 1953 based upon Mr. Williams’ original design.

Additions to the school program and several new projects developed over the next few years. A residence program was designed to accommodate children from remote areas. Recognizing the need for a holistic approach, psychologists, social workers, and other professionals were added to the existing staff to provide a support system for the entire family. In 1966, the name of The Nursery School was changed to the Blind Children’s Center to reflect this wide range of comprehensive services.

Thanks to the generosity of the Margaret Bundy Scott Trust, in 1984 the Blind Children’s Center expanded its services again through the development of educational and medical outreach programs. The Center established itself as a research hub and published numerous booklets, videos and CDs designed to educate and support parents of children with visual impairments and other professionals working in the field. To date, over 750,000 booklets have been translated into 17 languages and have been distributed to individuals and groups in all 50 states and more than 75 countries.

The structure of the Blind Children’s Center changed again in 1988 when an inclusion model was introduced. From that point forward, children who were sighted learned alongside children who were blind or visually impaired in each classroom, fostering an environment of compassion and empathy for all students.

In fall 2018, we returned to our roots to focus on early education, from birth through age 5, in order to provide our students with a strong foundation as they continue their educational journeys. And in late 2021, we entered a transformative partnership with LACOE (Los Angeles County Office of Education). As a LACOE delegate, BCC will be able to increase our enrollment to nearly 100 students per year and continue the inclusive preschool and infant/toddler programs for which we are known. It also positions BCC as a model for inclusion in early learning environments, and specifically as a demonstration site for LACOE which partners with 13 other nonprofits and school districts to serve over 10,000 children ages 0-5 in LA County.

As we enter our 85th year of service, we remain grateful to the Delta Gamma Fraternity for launching the Center and continuing to support our critical work through fundraising and volunteerism, our community of supporters for sustaining the work we do, and our students and families for inspiring us to continuously improve.

We invite you to join us in lighting the way to a brighter future for all the children and families we serve!

Thank you to Jennifer Magro Algarotti, PhD, Director of Strategic Communications at the Delta Gamma Foundation, and the DG Foundation archives for their contributions to our history.