It is difficult to imagine a time when there were no services for people with developmental disabilities. In Minnesota in the 70s, people with developmental disabilities were housed in state hospitals. Parents cared for their children as best as they could and then when parents couldn't care for them anymore, they were sent off to live in institutions. Very often, they were told to forget their children; to forget that they ever had them. There were no school programs, no sheltered workshops, and no jobs in the community.
Arc came in existence around 1950 on the national and state level and families with members with disabilities began to organize. Gradually, over a 50+ year period, services were developed, special education in the schools was legislated, and homes were provided for these people outside of institutions. Today there are many choices for this population from living in a group home with three other adults to living and owning their own home. Sheltered workshops and jobs in the community allow this population to work and earn money to help support themselves. The system has added case management services, Individual Education Plans and a language that allows dignity and respect for these people with developmental disabilities.
In the Kandiyohi County area, the very first special education classes were started in Willmar in 1950. Arc Kandiyohi County was started in 1957. Arc Kandiyohi County (Arc) is affiliated with The Arc of the United States and The Arc of Minnesota. Arc is one of only a few chapters of arc which consists of a single county, with other chapters ranging from 4 counties to 28 counties within Minnesota. Arc has 146 members and serves a population of over 1200 adults and children within the county, their families, and the people who work with them. Arc Kandiyohi County was incorporated in 1957 and is a non-profit 501C3 organization.
In the early days, Arc worked to change the public's perception of children and adults with developmental disabilities and to educate parents and others regarding the potential of people with these disabilities. The organization also worked to procure services for children and adults who were denied day care, pre-school education, and education or work programs.
Arc Kandiyohi County's Mission Statement is to support and advocate for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families as they choose how they live, learn, work and play.
Arc Kandiyohi County Board of Directors 2012
Board MembersLuAnn Kruger