Toll Free: 1 (877) 533-7098
Phone: (717) 920-2727
Fax: (717) 920-2730
2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103

History

 

THE ARC OF DAUPHIN COUNTY has come a long way over the past 60+ years!
  • Today, in our Options Habilitation Program, people learn reading and literacy, budgeting, laundry, home care, cooking, nutrition, wellness and computer training. Our Advocate assists parents with understanding and assuring their child’s rights within the public education system and support adults with living, working, legal, medical and other issues.
  • Positive Behavioral Support team provides individuals and families with strategies and skills that contribute to independence and successful involvement in everyday life.
  • Representative Payee makes monthly payments on behalf of consumers receiving Social Security Benefits to assure continuation of rent, utilities, personal items & other essentials.
  • And our Kids on the Block is an educational puppet program that models relationships between people, both with & without disabilities by communicating facts & feelings between the puppets and the audience.

In 1953 a group of parents whose young children had intellectual disabilities gathered together at the Jewish Community Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At that time, children with intellectual disabilities were typically sent to live in state institutions away from their families. These parents were committed to keeping their loved ones at home, but had few resources. Even the public school system would not accept students with intellectual disabilities.
Out of that first meeting a group was developed called the Association for Retarded Children (ARC). Over the years the terminology changed and the organization pledged to support people of all ages with intellectual disabilities. Today, we are known as The Arc of Dauphin County, which is not an acronym, but still pays homage to the original organization founded by committed parents all those years ago.
 
The founding families supported one another in keeping their loved ones at home, and advocated for social change. Their advocacy led in part to the right to a free public education for all students, regardless of ability level, and later to a move away from state institutions and into community-based settings.
 
While families were meeting in Dauphin County, others across the country were doing the same. The Arc rapidly became a national movement which now boasts chapters in each of the 50 states as well as a national organization located in Washington D.C. The Arc of Dauphin County is proudly affiliated with The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Arc of the US, and other local chapters across the state and nation.