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Six Decades of Advocacy

    Six Decades of Advocacy






    -  Parent groups throughout the country meet in Minneapolis, MN in 1950 to organize The Arc.

    -  The Arc becomes the first organization to put money into research on intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    -  The Arc helps expose the link between lead poisoning and brain damage in infants and children.

    -  The Arc opens a Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C.


    -  The Arc's memberships are key players in the enactment of Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act which guarantees a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities.

    -  The Arc advocates for the creation of the Supplemental Security Income program to provide income for persons with severe disabilities who have little or no income.

    -  The Arc helps pass a national housing law that established the Section 8 Assisted Housing program to meet the housing needs of low income families and individuals with disabilities.

    -  The Arc funded Dr. Robert Guthrie who found a treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU).

    -  Large numbers of people began to leave institutions as services for people with disabilities emerge within communities.

    -  The Arc works with other organizations to push for the establishment of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and passage of the Developmental Disabilities Act.

    -  The Arc publishes a groundbreaking study about infant under-nutrition as a cause of developmental disabilities and holds a major conference on the links between poverty and developmental disabilities.

    -  The Arc launches a national campaign to support research in the area of prevention and detection of preventable causes of Down syndrome.

    -  With research funding from The Arc, Kenneth Jones, M.D., defines the disorder Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


    -  The Arc helps create the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act which gives the U.S. Justice Department statutory authority to protect the rights of institutionalized individuals.

    -  The Arc helps create the Supported Employment program within the Rehabilitation Act.

    -  The Arc champions the "Baby Doe" Amendment to protect newborns with disabilities from being denied life saving medical treatment.

    -  The Arc presses Congress to allow home and community-based waiver options under Medicaid.

    -  The Arc helps negotiate a deal with school authorities to amend the Education of the Handicapped Act to provide services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities.

    -  The Arc works to pass legislation to authorize courts to award reasonable attorney fees to parents who prevail in special education due process.

    -  The Arc is involved in creating several work incentives in the Social Security Act to allow more individuals with disabilities to work.

    -  The Arc advocates for the passage of the Technology-Related Assistance Act to develop state wide assistive technology programs to serve individuals with disabilities.

    -  The Arc successfully pushed Congress to add disability as a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.

    -  The Arc plays an instrumental role in the creation of Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program.

    -  The Arc sponsors a national prevention campaign and convenes a national conference on prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    -  Advocacy by The Arc's Government Affairs Office results in the establishment of the Disabilities Prevention Program at the Centers for Disease Control.


    -  The Arc is a leader among national disability groups to advocate for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.

    -  The Arc helped create a Medicaid buy-in option for families whose income is somewhat higher than the basic eligibility ceiling.

    -  The Arc hosts a Summit on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Baltimore with support received by The Arc of Maryland from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    -  The Arc launches a national media and advertising campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.  As a result of these efforts, the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention and Education Act is passed by Congress.

    -  A new publication, Genetic Issues in Developmental Disabilities, is initiated as part of The Arc's Human Genome Project.

    -  The Arc was involved in drafting the first national family support legislation in 1994


    -  The Arc worked to assure that students with disabilities were covered within the educational accountability system under the No Child Left Behind Act.

    -  The Arc supported the passage of the American with Disabilities Act Amendments which restore lost protections stemming from recent Supreme and lower court decisions.

    -  The Arc participated at key points in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    -  The Arc and ArcLink launch the National FindFamily Registry, an online database that will help families reconnect with formerly institutionalized family members who they lost touch with long ago.

    -  The Arc played a key role in stopping huge Medicaid cuts and worked to expand Medicaid supports for low and middle-income families.

    -  The Arc won expanded provisions in the individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Higher Education Act that will help students move from public schooling to higher education, employment and adult life.

    -  The Arc established the National Housing Trust Fund to provide over 50,000 new public housing vouchers for people with disabilities.

    -  The Arc, in collaboration with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, published National Goals and Research for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a book highlighting challenges to achieving government's promise to people with disabilities.

    -  The Arc leads a national effort denouncing the negative portrayal of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the feature film, "Tropic Thunder."  Thousands of self-advocates, disability rights activists and families joined The Arc's Rally for Respect campaign in demonstration across the country to fight hate speech. 

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