The Arc of Butler County credits its start to a grass roots initiative that began with concerned families and community leaders surrounding services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Association for Retarded Children forms at the national level, now The Arc US.
Butler County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children, otherwise known as PARC, was founded. Initially Sheltered Workshop services were provided by volunteers from the community; eventually enough funds were generated to hire permanent staff. Today, the Sheltered Workshop Program continues to operate under PARC Productions. Individuals are able to learn valuable job skills while earning a paycheck.
The Arc of Butler County opened a preschool program for children ages 3-5, known as the Growth and Development Center. This program that began as a daycare eventually evolved to a licensed preschool program for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program was closed in June 1989 when the Pennsylvania Department of Education and local Intermediate Unit became responsible for the preschool education of children with disabilities.
The Arc of Butler County opened one of the first community residences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Western Pennsylvania. This residence offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, supervised housing for 8 individuals. The Arc of Butler County continues to provide this service through its Community Living Arrangement Program.
The agency legally changed its name to the Association for Retarded Citizens – Butler County
Career Opportunities for the Disabled (COD) was designed and developed to help individuals with not only intellectual and developmental disabilities but also other disabilities, obtain and retain competitive employment within the community. The Arc of Butler County’s Family Living Program also began in 1988. Offering a supportive family atmosphere for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, this program was started as a complement to the Community Living Arrangement Program.
The Supportive Employment Program (COD) was expanded in 1991 with the help of grant funds from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Program offerings have expanded to provide job coaching and transition services to students leaving high school and entering the community.
In 1998 the Supportive Housing Program was initiated. Designed to provide individualized staff support for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in the community, whether independently or with their families.
The agency’s name was changed to The Arc of Butler County to ensure continuity with changes made by our state and national organizations (The Arc of the United States and The Arc of Pennsylvania)
The Arc of Butler County developed a new after school program for high school students that have physical and/or intellectual disabilities and who need transition services. The program was named Activities, Employment, and Recreational Opportunities (AERO). The program provides education and training to students about attaining employment and how to live independently in the community.
The Arc of Butler County celebrated its 60th Year of Advocacy and Services