Through strong advocacy programs at the local and national level, The Arc continues to:

  • Monitor progress in the area of inclusion (education, employment, community living and recreation)
  • Make people aware of the needs, rights and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities
  • Encourage progressive legislation
  • Develop and promote effective programs and services
  • Promote and apply research to enhance independence
  • Educate the public on precautions that can be taken to prevent intellectual disabilities, including fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol-related birth defects

Since the 1950s, The Arc has been a force in advocating to improve the welfare of people with intellectual and related developmental disabilities.

On the national level, The Arc has been instrumental in:

  • Increasing federal support for intellectual disabilities services and research
  • Gaining Social Security coverage for adults disabled in childhood
  • Securing the right to public education for all children
  • Passage of the “Baby Doe” amendments to the Child Abuse Act
  • Enactment of The Fair Housing Act amendments which prohibit housing discrimination based on disability
  • Developed position statements on the important issues that affect persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Individual Advocacy

The Arc in Hawaii provides advocacy services for families and individuals needing direct assistance. Individual advocacy is provided in areas such as educational services, transition planning, residential placement, securing or protecting government benefits, accessing services, assuring rights are protected, providing information and referral, and training in self-advocacy.

Self- Advocacy Clubs

The Arc in Hawaii believes self-advocacy is essential to improve the quality of life for all people with intellectual disabilities. People with intellectual disabilities should be supported, assisted and educated to become active members and leaders of community boards, committees and agencies. To assist in their leadership development, The Arc offers volunteer support to self-advocacy groups by encouraging them to form and providing training, accommodations and mentorship.

System Advocacy

The Arc in Hawaii provides systems advocacy by working with legislators and government officials to develop policies and programs that benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc’s board committees consist of parents and professionals who provide guidance and feedback on a variety of advocacy issues. The Arc also collaborates with other organizations and coalitions to gain consensus and the larger community’s support for The Arc’s issues.