Programs at Bear Creek Services

We understand that people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries are unique individuals.  For this reason, we use a person-centered approach in order to find the program that suits the needs of each person.

Click the tabs below to learn about each of the programs we offer:


Group Homes

We provide the right mix of independence, security and support for individuals to thrive and reach their full potential.

Our group home program features:

  • Home Life: Direct care staff help individuals eat right, exercise regularly, and progress with their physical and psychological therapy programs in a supportive home environment. 
  • Employment and Daytime Activities: Individuals are encouraged to work and interact with the community as much as possible. We have employment partnerships with ABC and PossAbilities, and Opportunity Services.  We can also assist with transportation if there are no other means of getting to and from their workplace.
  • Recreational Opportunities: Staff provide many recreational activities to suit individuals’ interests such as going to parks, bowling, fishing, camping, dancing, and just hanging out.
  • In-Home Support: At least one staff member is present whenever an individual is home during the day, unless their program dictates that they get a few hours of alone time during the week. Our direct support professionals are trained with the knowledge needed to assist our residents with activities while respecting their dignity as adults.
  • Health Services: A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is assigned to each group home.  LPN's assist with medical and dental appointments. The LPNs are supervised by the Health Services Director (HSD), who is a Registered Nurse. We emphasize a proactive approach to healthcare.  All health-related notes are reviewed in real time by the HSD. The staff is on-call 24 hours per day to answer questions and address any health situations that arise.
  • Contact with Parents & Guardians: Parents and guardians are included as much as possible when planning for an individual's services.  We realize that the individual, and their family members, are the people who best understand what supports are needed. 
  • Community Education Classes: Residents are encouraged to take advantage of community education class or workshop that may help them become more independent.  This may include cooking, cleaning, or other independent living skills.

Contact Bear Creek Services about group home availability today at (507) 288 - 7195 or

Bear Creek Independent Living Services Program  (BCILS)

The BCILS program can help individuals transition from living in a family or group home, into living on their own.  We provide the life skills training necessary and practice them in real-life settings.

In the BCILS program, individuals can reside in a temporary home with trained staff while they are taught a variety of life skills:

  • Money management
  • Home maintenance
  • Safety
  • Cooking
  • Medication management
  • Community involvement
  • Socialization skills
  • Many other skills as needed - each program is unique to fit the needs of the person enrolling.


BCILS Success Stories

At present, we have several successful graduates who are now living more independent lives in the Rochester community.

Christina, who graduated from Barton Place I in 2013 and currently lives in her own apartment is a shining example of what individuals with disabilities can achieve when given the proper environment and support services.

Click here to:  read more about Christina’s journey through BCILS from her mom’s perspective.

Click here to read:  Rochester Area Foundation Article on BCILS


Frequently Asked Questions About BCILS

How does someone enroll in BCILS?

To enroll in BCILS, a case manager must contact the BCILS Program Director at or 507-288-7195. During this initial discussion, we will schedule a tour of the training apartment and provide more detailed information. If the team believes BCILS would be a good fit, individuals are then placed on the waiting list.

How old are BCILS program participants?

People must be at least 18 years old to enroll in the program.

How long is someone typically enrolled in BCILS? 

Most people are enrolled about 6 months, though some stay longer or shorter depending upon the progress made. The goal is not to get someone out as soon as possible, but to make sure individuals have mastered the skills necessary for successful independent living.

What happens to the person enrolled upon graduation from the program? 

Individuals typically move into their own apartment and live by themselves, or live with a roommate if they choose.  

Is any assistance provided to the person enrolled after they graduate? 

If individuals require some extra assistance when they move into their own place, Bear Creek Services can provide supplemental support services to help them maintain their independence.  The amount of support needed will likely be much less than what was needed before enrolling in the BCILS program!

How are the skill of enrollees tested and measured?

We assess individuals' independent living skills through observation in real-life settings. Skill sets are rated on a 4-point scale where 1 point means the individual needs total assistance, and 4 points means the person can complete skills independently. Individuals will be tested within the first 2 - 4 weeks, and periodically reassessed with a final assessment before they graduate from the program.

How is the program staffed? 

Staff members are present during the day when program participants are not at work.  There is also an overnight staff who is available when needed. The Barton Place I apartment for women is all female-staffed, and the Barton Place II apartment for men is all male-staffed.  Sommer Place Townhome became the third training unit to open in 2017.

Do staff do things for participants, or are participants completely on their own?

Staff are there to assist, mentor, and teach BCILS program enrollee to do things as independently as possible. The goal is for individuals to become self-reliant, though staff will help as needed.

What financial requirements are in place for enrollment in the program?  

Individuals will need some form of income to pay rent and purchase items such as food, hygiene products and clothes that are necessary to meet their living needs.

Are people’s families involved at all during the process? 

Participants’ families are very much involved in the process, as they are an important part of the team that monitors the progress being made. Since family members have extensive first-hand knowledge of their loved one’s strengths and difficulties, we rely on the help from families to determine when individuals are ready to move onto the next step of the program.

How much training does staff receive who teach life skills to participants?

Staff members who work at BCILS go through an intensive training process that includes first aid, CPR, medication administration, and principles of person-centered training.

Who can I contact for more information about BCILS or learn about upcoming openings? 

For more information about BCILS program please contact us at or call us at (507) 288-7195.

In-home Support Services

If you know of an individual who is already living in a home of their own, but still needs some assistance, our in-home support services may be the support they need to lead more independent lives.  The In-Home Support program is designed to provide varying levels of support that align with each individual's goals.

Contact Bear Creek Services today at (507) 288 – 7195 or to learn more about how we can help them thrive while living on their own.

In-Home Support Program

Individuals receive between 2 - 6 hours of assistance each week, as determined by the Olmsted County Community Services Department. The specifics of the program are based on your loved one’s individual needs.

Some skills include:

  • Cooking
  • Budgeting
  • Managing medication
  • Cleaning
  • Using public transportation
  • Other skills are coached as needed

While participants have often recently graduated from the Bear Creek Independent Living Services program (BCILS), individuals are not required to enter BCILS to enter the In-Home Support program.


Semi-Independent Living Skills Program (SILS)


In the SILS program, individuals live in their own home, or their family's home.  Each person will receive between 5-10 hours of assistance each week, as determined by the Olmsted County Social Services Department.

The goal of the SILS Program is to teach independent living skills.  SILS is less time-intensive than the BCILS program, and individuals will learn new skills at their own pace.

Some skills include:

  • Cooking
  • Budgeting
  • Managing medication
  • Cleaning
  • Using public transportation
  • Other skills are coached as needed









LIC seal

Bear Creek Services has been certified as a "Best In America Charity" by Independent Charities of America.

CLICK HERE to learn more!


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