Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is The Arc?
A: The Arc is the world’s largest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It provides an array of services and support for families and individuals and includes over 140,000 members affiliated through more than 700 state and local chapters across the nation. The Arc is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Arc’s vision is that every individual and family affected by I/DD in the United States has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. We work to ensure that people with I/DD and their families have the supports they need to live an ordinary American life:
The Arc is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors.
Q: What does "The Arc" stand for?
A: Throughout its history, The Arc’s name has seen many changes.
1950: Founded as the National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children
1952: Name changed to the National Association for Retarded Children (NARC).
1974: Name changed to the National Association for Retarded Citizens.
1980: Name changed to Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States.
1991: The best name change, to The Arc, removing the word “retarded” for the first time.
Q: How many members does The Arc have?
A: The Arc has over 140,000 members nationally. The Montgomery County chapter has over 800 members.
Q: How many chapters does The Arc have?
A: The Arc has more than 700 local and state chapters. In Maryland, there is a state chapter which is focused on advocacy at the state level, plus ten local chapters: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore, Carroll County, Central Chesapeake Region, Frederick County, Howard County, Northern Chesapeake Region, Southern Maryland and Washington County. Each local chapter provides different services and supports.
Q: What are my rights as an individual with I/DD?
A: See the Department of Justice's A Guide to Disability Rights Laws.
Q: How do I join The Arc?
A: Click here to become a member of The Arc Montgomery County. Membership at the local chapter level also includes membership in state and national chapters.
Q: How can I stay up-to-date with The Arc?
A: There are several ways you can receive information about The Arc's happenings:
• Sign up to receive our e-newsletter and email updates;
• Follow us on Twitter; or
• Become a Facebook fan.