History of The Arc of Massachusetts
Changing Focus throughout the Decades

 

1950s Families began to band together to support each other and to effect change in both policy and practice. Some early activities include local camps, home schools, and support groups.

 

1960s Chapters of The Arc expand their advocacy, convince school systems to offer programs and establish workshops.

 

1970s Special education and de-institutionalization take center stage; nonsent decrees usher in community services; ‘normalization’ becomes the watchword for services; a life in the community.

 

1980s Community Services become the norm; people look to housing for adults and independence.

 

1990s Advent of the concept of support—recognizes that people should receive support to live their own lives; Waiting list begins to be addressed by the legislature and the value of community agencies is recognized by the Commonwealth.

 

2000s and beyond. The Boulet settlement for the waiting list is finalized and implemented. The Rolland or Nursing home settlement is implemented.

 
Over the years, lawsuits and rulings have advanced disability policy.          

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Take a glimpse at history from the 1960s—
 
President Kennedy signs key legislation on intellectual disabilities. Click here to read more.
 
The late Hal Demone talks about the Maternal and Child Health Planning Act.  Click here to read more.