Mission, History & Achievements
“The Arc of Texas promotes, protects, and advocates for the human rights and self-determination of Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Trainings- The Arc offers an array of effective trainings in advocacy, education, and independent living.
Since our founding in 1950 by a group of parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc at the local, state and national level has been instrumental in the creation of virtually every program, service, right, and benefit that is now available to more than half a million Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, The Arc continues to advocate for including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all aspects of society.
The Arc of Texas envisions a world where Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are included in their communities where quality supports and services are available to meet their needs and choices.
People First. The Arc believes that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have strengths, abilities and inherent value; are equal before the law; and must be treated with dignity and respect. The Arc represents, supports and acts on behalf of individuals and their families regardless of level of disability or membership in The Arc. The Arc believes in self-determination by empowering people with the supports needed to make informed decisions and choices.
Democracy. A democratic process involving members, through affiliated chapters, is utilized to take positions on important issues, policies and programs.
Visionary Leadership. The Arc leads by promoting the mission, core values and position statements. We lead with integrity, accountability and by open, honest and timely communication. We work with individuals, organizations and coalitions in a collaborative fashion. There is a valued partnership with volunteer and staff leadership at all levels of the organization that provides mutual support for their respective roles.
Community Participation. The Arc works toward and believes in the community imperative: that all people have the fundamental moral, civil and constitutional rights to live, learn, work, play and worship in safe and healthy communities of their choosing. The Arc works to ensure the safety and well being of individuals.
Diversity. The Arc values and insists upon diversity in its leadership and membership. The Arc actively pursues and welcomes diverse groups (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, age, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender and level of disability).
Integrity and Excellence. The Arc conducts its business with integrity. The Arc reflects quality and excellence in all its work.
For 60 years, The Arc of Texas and The Arc of the United States has been instrumental in the development of virtually every program, service, right, and benefit available to the more than half a million Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here are a few examples:
- 1951 - Local councils form The Arc of Texas for Texans with intellectual disabilities.
- December 16, 1953 - The Arc of Texas, Inc. is created by filing a Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State
- 1953 - The first state legislation mandating public education for children with intellectual disabilities passes.
- 1960 - The Arc of Texas opens its first official headquarters in Austin.
- 1971 - In collaboration with the Kennedy Foundation, The Arc of Texas establishes "Texas Special Olympics."
- 1975 - The federal "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (IDEA) or "Public Law 94-142" passes.
- 1975 - The Arc of Texas launches its Household Recycling Program to generate funding for state-level operations.
- 1977 - The Texas Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Act, a "Bill of Rights" for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is enacted by the Texas Legislature.
- 1980 - The Arc of Texas helps establish the Texas Advocates, a self-advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.
- 1983 - The Arc of Texas intervenes in federal litigation regarding Texas institutional services. The lawsuit eventually resulted in the closure of two state institutions and the development of community services for hundreds of former state school residents.
- Mid 1980s – Legislation passes barring discrimination in community zoning provisions for group homes and establishes the In-Home and Family Support Program for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. The Texas Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) and Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS) Medicaid Waiver Programs are initiated.
- 1990 – Congress passes The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a comprehensive bill of rights for Americans with disabilities.
- 1993 - The organization name and mission are changed to reflect the services and supports provided to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- 1993 - The Arc of Texas holds the first annual Inclusion Works! Conference for over 1,000 teachers, administrators, and parents to help ensure students with disabilities receive special education services in regular education classrooms.
- 1997 - The Arc of Texas establishes the Master Pooled Trust, Texas' first supplemental needs pooled trust fund for people with disabilities.
- 1997 - The U.S. Congress passes a sweeping amendment to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which expanded inclusive education opportunities for school children with disabilities.
- 2002 - In collaboration with Advocacy, Inc, now Disability Rights Texas, The Arc of Texas brings the McCarthy federal lawsuit against the State of Texas in an attempt to obtain Medicaid-funded services for thousands on the HCS and CLASS waiting lists.
- 2003 - The Arc of Texas builds and moves into a new state office in Austin. The office, which includes 10,000 square feet of lease space, is intended to provide steady income to support state operations in addition to being the Austin home for The Arc of Texas.
- 2005 - The Arc of Texas continues to support Texas Advocates and helps them celebrate their 25th anniversary.
- 2006 - The Arc of Texas changes its Mission Statement to use the words "intellectual and developmental disabilities".
- 2006 - The Arc of Texas settles the 4-year old McCarthy Waiting List lawsuit against the State of Texas with an expectation that the number of persons served by Medicaid waiver services be significantly expanded during the six year period from 2007-2013.
- 2007 - The Texas Legislature passes "Scooter's Bill" ensuring that students with disabilities can participate in High School Graduation Ceremonies and continue to receive public school services until the age of 22.
- 2008 - The Arc of Texas establishes the Texas Microboard Collaboration to support the operation of microboards for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the state.
- 2009 - The Arc of Texas works with key legislators to secure the largest increase in funding for community services in Texas' history. More than 9,000 persons benefit.
- 2010 – People with disabilities celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the congressional passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- 2010 - The Arc of Texas and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities participate in a federal lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Texas alleging state officials violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal laws both by segregating individuals with intellectual disabilities in nursing homes and by failing to provide them with the treatment and services they needed while there.
- 2011 - The Arc of Texas works with key legislators to pass "Respectful Language" legislation and legislation that require that transition planning for students receiving special education services in public schools begin at age 14.
- 2012 - The Master Pooled Trust celebrates its 15th anniversary.
- 2012 - The Arc of Texas and Disability Rights Texas jointly publish the 5th Edition of the IDEA Manual for parents and students about special education services in Texas.
- 2013 - The Arc of Texas Inclusion Works! Conference celebrates its 20th anniversary.
- 2013 - The Arc of Texas and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities negotiated an agreement with the state of Texas to settle a class action lawsuit to improve living conditions for thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been confined to Texas nursing facilities.
- 2013 - The Arc of Texas works with other advocacy groups and legislators to pass "Ricky's Law" improving public school transition services for students receiving special education services in Texas and to establish a statewide Independent IEP facilitation program.
- 2014 - More to come...
Where do we stand on the issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families? Find out by reading The Arc's position statements.
The Arc of Texas is affiliated with The Arc of the United States, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a national level. We are also proud to have more than 35 affiliated local chapters working to provide additional supports and services to families in communities throughout the state.
The committed men and women on our Board of Directors are primarily parents and family members of people with disabilities. They have experienced firsthand both the challenges and the triumphs associated with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their personal stake in The Arc's mission provides our volunteers, members, and professional staff with wisdom, inspiration, and guidance. Learn about serving on our Board of Directors and submit a board member application today!
Our members are people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; their families and friends; the professionals and service providers who work with them; and others who are passionate about changing the way our society views people with disabilities. We also invite you to join The Arc family. Become a member today!
Working for The Arc is more than just a job for many of our staff. They work hard to make a difference in the lives of more than 500,000 Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With guidance from our board of directors, The Arc of Texas staff work hand-in-hand with our many volunteer members to fulfill The Arc's mission throughout the state.
The Arc of Texas is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. We receive funding from a variety of sources, including private donations, membership dues, fundraising events and special government grants.
The Arc of Texas is an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau and complies with their high standards for ethical business behavior. Click here to view our BBB charity review.