Our Mission

The Arc of Southwest Washington helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve a lifetime of success by

  • Building capability with respectful advocacy
  • Direct support of individuals and their families
  • Promotion of full participation in our community

About The Arc of Southwest Washington

The Arc of Southwest Washington’s fascinating history goes back to March of 1936 and a small group of parents and other concerned individuals who organized to improve institutional care for their sons and daughters. Almost immediately they affiliated with a new grassroots organization that had started the previous October known as the Children’s Benevolent League (CBL) of Washington, later to become The Arc. It was one of the first organizations in the nation to focus on the welfare of persons with developmental disabilities and played a major role in the creation of the national Arc in 1950.

At that time, little was known about the condition of mental retardation or its causes. Most children were placed into institutions with limited family contact. There were virtually no programs and activities in communities to assist in the development and care of children and adults.

In the early days the association worked to change the public perception of children with mental retardation and to educate parents and others regarding the potential of people with this disability. The Arc also worked to procure services for children and adults who were denied day care, preschool, education, and work programs.

Since 1936, The Arc of Southwest Washington has provided services locally to tens of thousands of persons with developmental disabilities and their families in Southwest Washington. In the process, it has tirelessly promoted the acceptance and inclusion of people of all abilities, advocated for the most current research-based improvements, and opened new doors in helping people achieve a lifetime of success.

From birth through adulthood, the Arc today stands ready to help. For additional information regarding the history of developmental disabilities, click here.