Our History

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The Arc of the Capital Area (The Arc) empowers Central Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families through compassionate case management and innovative programs. Examples of I/DD include autism, spina bifida, seizure disorder, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, and Down syndrome. The Arc was founded in 1949 by parents whose children with I/DD were excluded from public schools and other resources readily available to children without disabilities.The Arc provides unique services to help families adapt to life with a child with a disability and to assist maturing adults with disabilities gain the skills they need to become independent. We are committed to working toward a future where all children and adults with disabilities have opportunities to live meaningful and healthy lives. Since 1949, The Arc has spoken for those who cannot always speak for themselves, who are often our most vulnerable citizens.

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities estimates that between 1.5 – 2.5% of Americans have an I/DD diagnosis. This percentage calculates out to between 26,386 and 43,976 people in Central Texas, respectively. This number includes 1 in 6 children. Yet Texas ranks 50th (out of 50 states and the District of Columbia) in providing community-based services to children and adults with I/DD.

The Arc closes vital service gaps for approximately 2,000 Central Texans and their families by providing services relevant to all areas of life for children and adults with I/DD. For many families, The Arc is the sole service provider. Our services include:

  • Intake/Referral: Assess needs; refer to other services.
  • Family & Juvenile Transition Services: Special education advocacy; caregiver mentoring; support groups; workshops.
  • Basic Needs/Crisis Assistance: Housing; utilities; transportation; medical payments; care costs.
  • Guardianship Services: Helps low-income families establish guardianship of children with I/DD who have recently reached or will soon reach adulthood (age 18).
  • Juvenile Justice Services: Case management; advocacy; support to children in special education involved in or at risk of involvement in crime.
  • Case Management: Medical assistance; referrals for independent living; crisis assistance; food stamp/local pantry; social security; transportation assistance; social activities.
  • The Arc of the Arts Program: Art classes; exhibiting/selling artwork; pre-employment/socialization training.

Our target populations are children and adults with I/DD and their caregivers/parents in Central Texas. Of clients served and reporting, 84.9% are at risk of poverty, and 55.2% are in poverty as determined by federal poverty levels. Our clients are 49% Caucasian, 26% Hispanic/Latino, 14% Black, 1% Asian, and 11% other/unreported.We are an affiliate of The Arc of Texas and The Arc (of the United States), the oldest volunteer driven association in the country. In addition to providing quality services to individuals with I/DD and their families, The Arc is a founding member of two formal collaborations: Best Single Source Plus and The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Central Texas.