The Story of The Arc Eastern Connecticut
Before the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed in the 1970s, young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities were unwelcome in our public schools. In 1952, two groups of parents—one in Groton and one in Danielson—began to meet and raise money to fund an education program for their children that over time grew into The Arc Quinebaug Valley and The Arc New London County. The agencies’ unified mission and commitment to their communities in northeastern and southeastern Connecticut sparked a social and civil rights movement that continues to drive both agencies today as they embark on the next chapter of their journey: the 2019 merger into The Arc Eastern Connecticut.
Founded on principles of full inclusion and the belief that all people have the right to fully live their dreams and goals, The Arc Eastern Connecticut has a rich history of success and accomplishments. Our caring, nurturing professional staff is highly trained and qualified to meet the needs of those we support. Our diverse Board of Directors, made up of local business leaders, professionals, teachers, family members and participants are strong advocates who help create a successful team.
Our services touch every aspect of a person's life including:
Group and Individual Supported Employment
Individualized day programs
Micro-enterprise ventures throughout the region
The Arc ECT's Community Life & Advocacy program is unique to the region, funded solely by public donations and United Way funding and offering life enhancement options ranging from Special Olympics to providing opportunities for support groups to self-presentation skills for professional advancement.
As society's awareness grew and greater acceptance took hold, our agency’s vision also evolved, raising expectations among people with IDD and their families across the region. From a belief that people are better off living with families and loved ones than in an institution came the understanding that sheltered workshops are not the same as real jobs. In the 1990s, The Arc New London County closed its sheltered workshop and its Board of Directors resolved that all people are entitled to jobs in the community at minimum wage or higher a policy that continues at the Arc Eastern Connecticut today.
Successful fundraising efforts have also helped to enhance the effectiveness of our programs. The Arc Quinebaug Valley has always held the belief that true learning comes from being involved in the community. The ability to build social relationships, to develop realistic life goals, and to be seen as a valued, contributing member of the community are all positive outcomes of our services.
The Arc NLC’s 2011 merger with residential provider Seacorp, Inc. augmented its dynamic and efficient service platform. The Arc Eastern Connecticut continues to grow its service options and improve its State of CT DDS (Department of Developmental Services) quality review scores, while reducing overhead costs and avoiding layoffs for employees in a region hard-hit by recession. The Arc Eastern Connecticut has earned its reputation for creative and cost-effective individualized solutions--from jobs to residential options to entertainment, all of which greatly benefit its over 950 clients and their families throughout eastern Connecticut.