To provide enhanced opportunities for all citizens of Bergen and
Passaic Counties with intellectual and other disabilities
and their families through advocacy, community education, direct
services, and customized supports and to help these individuals
attain and maintain fulfilled and independent status within their
own communities and to initiate actions to prevent the occurrence
of disability whenever possible.
In 1947, in response to a letter in the Bergen Record from Laura Sparks
Blossfeld, parent of a child with intellectual disability, a group of parents met
to discuss what they might do to help their children with disabilities. That
small group of parents joined together to form what was eventually called
The Association for Retarded Children (later Citizens) and is now known
simply as The Arc.
These original parents helped others in New Jersey and throughout the
country to organize parent´s groups. By 1950 the New Jersey Arc and the
National Arc had been established. Today there are 20 associations in New
Jersey and more than 850 across the United States with over 140,000
members. The Bergen Passaic Chapter of The Arc remains the first and
foremost organization for people with disabilities and their families.
The Arc has long been a powerful force in advancing the rights of people
with disabilities and their families. Through the efforts of Arc members,
special education in public schools, supplemental security income and
many other services which benefit all persons with developmental
disabilities and their families have been obtained.
The Arc has been, and continues to be, a leader in the field of developmental disabilities striving to provide innovative community based services of the highest quality for children, adults and families.
•First Group Home in New Jersey
•First Supervised Apartment in Bergen County
•First Independent Living Program in New Jersey
•First Adult Training Programs in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Summer Camp Program in The United States
•First Family Support Voucher Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Early Intervention Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Vocational Workshops in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Program for Parents with Disabilities in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Parent to Parent Mentor Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Dual Diagnosis Group Home in New Jersey
•First Janitorial Training Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Supported Living Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties
•First Ski Program for children with autism in Bergen County
•First Autism Respite Voucher Program in Bergen and Passaic Counties