December 2023 ARC Newsletter


Empower - Building a More Inclusive Future Together

A diverse family sits around a circular table outside. The father is holding a young child with disabilities.

Caregivers Report Less Help and More Stress in New Study

New research spotlights how the pandemic and caregiving crisis have further strained families supporting loved ones with disabilities. The 2023 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) study, conducted by The Arc and the University of Minnesota, gives a look at the lives of caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). We surveyed over 3,000 caregivers on pressing issues like access to care, financial hardship, and planning for uncertain futures. This critical report puts real stories to the statistics, underscoring gaps leaving vulnerable families without needed support. Read the full report.

Spotlighting The Arc's Changemakers: Laura Kennedy, President of the Board of Directors

When Julia Kennedy was born in 1982, The Arc had already been laying the groundwork for her to thrive. Laura and Hal Kennedy were parents to two daughters, ages 3 and 4, when Julia arrived.

On the right is a headshot of a woman wearing a white sweater. On the left is text that reads "Stepping into this role as CEO of The Arc feels like coming home. Katy Neas Incoming CEO The Arc of the United States."

Early on in her infancy, they knew that Julia was experiencing developmental delays. She eventually was diagnosed with profound intellectual disability and autism. Working with their pediatrician, the Kennedys sought out the help they would need to support Julia at every step—and found their local chapter of The Arc, AHRC New York City. Learn more.

ICYMI: We Have a New CEO!

We are brimming with excitement about the announcement of our new CEO, Katherine (Katy) Neas. Starting in January 2024, Katy will bring more than 35 years of experience in disability policy and public and nonprofit leadership to the role.

On the right is a headshot of a woman wearing a white sweater. On the left is text that reads "Stepping into this role as CEO of The Arc feels like coming home. Katy Neas Incoming CEO The Arc of the United States."

As she shared, “I’m in awe of The Arc’s profound legacy, from pioneering special education access to spearheading community living. Now, I’m honored to continue that legacy into the future, but we won’t rest on past wins.” Learn more about Katy and help us welcome her to The Arc family!

Double Your Impact for Disability Rights This Giving Season

Today, millions of people with IDD are facing pervasive barriers and prejudice that is preventing them from living full, meaningful, self-directed lives. We’re on a mission to change that. For nearly 75 years, we’ve been boldly fighting for changes that will create a better future for people with IDD—and you have an important role to play! Make a gift today and it will be DOUBLED by an anonymous donor, making 2x the impact in the fight for disability rights. Please, donate now.

Changing "Impossible" to "I'm Possible"

People with IDD have dreams and aspirations, just like everyone else, but did you know that only 2% of them attend college? The “Think Higher, Think College” campaign is challenging society’s assumptions about what’s possible. They introduce you to college students with IDD, including Martha Haythorn, a self-advocate with The Arc, and shine a light on how inclusion makes college campuses better. Watch and share this inspiring look at what’s achievable when we empower aspirations.

Advocating for Safe Classrooms: One Family’s Painful Journey

When Jeanna's 14-year-old daughter Leah started acting out at school, alarm bells went off. But the school dismissed her concerns—until she discovered Leah had been restrained and locked in a dark bathroom. Their family isn’t alone.

A mother and daughter sit together. The daughter is holding a photo of a young woman with disabilities.

Their story spotlights the stark reality of harsh discipline that many students with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience. Jeanna and Leah are speaking up to demand better from schools nationwide. Learn more about their journey in advocating for the rights of students with disabilities.

Disability Policy Seminar AAIDD. ASA.AUDC.NACDD.SABE.TASH.The Arc.UCP April 8-10,2024. Save the date.

Making Equal Justice a Reality

Have you heard? Our National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD) is celebrating 10 years of groundbreaking criminal justice work. This first-of-its-kind center focuses on people with IDD involved in the criminal justice system as victims, witnesses, suspects, defendants, and incarcerated persons. We’re fighting for families like the Parsas, who heartbreakingly lost their son in 2020 due to excessive use of force. Learn more about NCCJD’s crucial work.

HCBS Funding Is Needed Now!

Millions of people with disabilities rely on Medicaid’s home and community-based services (HCBS) for their daily needs, such as dressing, meal preparation, taking medication, and more. But chronic underfunding of HCBS has led to a national shortage of direct care workers and years-long wait lists for access to services. Nearly 700,000 people are stuck on waiting lists, three-quarters of which are people with IDD. Urge your representatives to support the HCBS Relief Act—it’ll take just 15 seconds on our website!

In the News