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Learn More about The Arc of Missouri
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The Arc was originally formed in 1950 by a group of parents who were frustrated by the lack of meaningful services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities were denied access to public education and there were virtually no services available to assist these people. Doctors routinely recommended that they be placed in large, segregated institutions and this was the only residential option available.

These parents began to demand services to enhance the quality of life for individuals and less restrictive residential options. The original name for the organization was "National Association for Retarded Citizens". As times changed  the term "retarded" began to take on a derogatory nature and became a term of insult. In 1992 the organization changed the name to simply the "Arc". The desire was to maintain the nationwide recognition of the organization while still removing the objectionable term.


Do not wail and curse the darkness; light a lamp and lead the way


While many State and Local chapters of the Arc made the decision to become service providers, i.e., provide a variety of programs to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, including residential services, the Arc of Missouri made the decision to be strictly an "advocacy" organization. That means we provide no direct services, but work to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities by advocating on their behalf.

We advocate for services and enhancements with the Governor of Missouri, State Legislature, Missouri Department of Mental Health/Division of Developmental Disabilities and other organizations. We organize and assist people in contacting their legislator and help arrange for individuals to testify at budget hearings. We exchange information and form temporary coalitions with other organizations over specific issues. Essentially, we make an effort to assure that policies and regulations which impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities are in the best interest of those individuals and enhance their quality of life.

We partner with and support local chapter of the Arc in Missouri. We welcome all who wish to join us in making life better for all Missourians.