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History

Arc of Livingston Wyoming was founded in 1961, Genesee Arc was founded in 1966 and the Arc of Orleans County was founded in 1970. In 2016, Genesee Arc and the Arc of Orleans County merged to form Arc of Genesee Orleans. In 2021, the Arcs of Livingston Wyoming and Genesee Orleans merged to create Arc GLOW, which we are known as today.

Timeline of Disability Rights

1824 - New York state establishes county poor houses

Before then, it was common for the poor to remain in their own community and stay in their homes or with members of their own families. Children took in their aged or sick parents. Those who no longer could manage to keep up their own home, or whose family members were all gone, were often taken in by neighbors who could then be reimbursed for the costs.

1824

1827- Genesee County Poor House opens

Now known today as Rolling Hills Asylum, the Genesee County Poor House located in Bethany was where people who were infirmed and destitute were sent to back in the 1800s and 1900s. It was suggested using an old stage coach inn of Bethany for the new Genesee County Poor House. Why it was placed in Bethany wasn’t known, but asylums were often built outside of the city.

1827

1833 - Orleans County Alms House opens

Located in Albion, the Orleans County Alms House is opened. For over a century, it would serve the destitute, indigent and infirmed of the community.

1833

1843 - Wyoming County Alms House opens

Located in Varysburg, more specific information on the Wyoming County Alms House is still being researched.

1843

1843 - Utica Asylum opens

The State Lunatic Asylum at Utica served the entire state of New York from 1843 to 1890. It had been established as a treatment facility, reserved for new, acute eases and was required by law to return to county custody any patient who was not discharged as recovered within two years.

1843

1850 - Livingston County Poor House opens

Livingston County had purchased about 136 acres of land on both sides of what was known as Canandaigua Road (Route 20A) in Geneseo to use as a poor house farm.

1850

1864 - Dr. Sylvester D. Willard’s reports of county poor houses

It was no secret the conditions of the county poor houses were deplorable. The “insane” were chained and shackled to floors and walls in windowless basements, outhouses and sheds. In 1864, the state decreed an investigation concerning the treatment of the “insane” confined in the county poor houses.

1864

1865 - The Willard Act is passed

On April 8, 1865 the state passed an act authorizing the establishment “of a state asylum for the chronic insane and for the better care of the insane poor, to be known as The Willard Asylum for the Insane.”

1865

1869- Willard Asylum opens

Between 1869 and 1890 Willard Asylum served the entire state with the exception of New York, Kings and Monroe counties. After 1890, Willard served the following counties: Allegany, Cayuga, Genesee, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates.

1869

1900’s

Asylums housed persons with disabilities/mental health.

  • Evolved into what we would refer to as institutions such as Willowbrook
  • Limited staff with a huge number of persons

1935 - Craig Colony starts admitting those with IDD

Located in Groveland, Livingston County, it was initially a community/institution for people with epilepsy, established in 1896, before starting to accept other individuals with disabilities in 1935. It started with funding support from William Pyror Letchworth.

1935

1948 - Ann Greenberg places classified ad in New York Post

On July 9, 1948 Ann Greenberg placed an ad in the New York Post calling on all mothers of children with disabilities to start a group.

The ad brought 10 people to a friend’s Bronx home. They came from all over the city!

In December 1948, the group decided to hold a large meeting. Ann sent out 50 letters inviting people to meet in a hospital auditorium, facilitated by a physician friend. Three hundred people came, filling the room, and spilling out into the hallways. 
1948

1949 - AHRC is incorporated

On Jan. 31, 1949 the Association for Help of Retarded Children, Inc. (AHRC) is incorporated with four initial chapters.

By March, various committees were established to address issues such as education, legal affairs, fundraising and public relations.
1949

1950’s

  • People returned from war unable to work due to disabilities
  • Grassroot activism began happening, leading into what now known as the Arc.

1956 - NYSARC is founded

New York State Association for the Help of Retarded Children, Inc. (now known as The Arc of New York) is founded, with separate offices from the existing chapters.

1956

1961 - Arc of Livingston Wyoming is founded

Phyllis Light established the Livingston-Wyoming chapter of the ARC. Light served as the organization’s first president and remained an active member for several years. She advocated for services, education, and vocational opportunities for children with IDD and worked to provide resources for families and teachers.

1961

1964 - Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing. The Act prohibits discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs.

1964

1966 - Genesee Arc is founded

Genesee Arc began with an ad in The Daily News announcing a gathering for area parents of children with IDD. The first meeting was held in 1957, but the Genesee Arc wouldn’t become a chapter until May 1, 1966.

1966

1968 - SEP established

The governor approves legislation establishing guardianship of people with IDD and created a subsidiary the Sheltered Workshop Program (SEP).

1968

1970 - Arc of Orleans County founded

The Arc of Orleans started with Camp Rainbow and the Shenberger family donating land to help create a place where children with disabilities had opportunities for fun and interaction.

1970

1972 - Geraldo Rivera’s exposé on Willowbrook

ABC News investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera drew national attention to Willowbrook with a TV exposé watched by millions. Willowbrook: The Last Disgrace exposed serious overcrowding, dehumanizing practices, dangerous conditions and regular abuse of residents. The public was outraged and spurred parent advocacy groups to take action in federal court.

1972

1972 - Willowbrook Lawsuit

Parents of 5,000 people living at Willowbrook State School filed suit in federal court over the inhumane conditions at the facility. NYSARC is a plaintiff.

1972

1973/1975

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

1973 - Willowbrook Consent Decree

This and ensuing legislation led to the closure of developmental centers in New York state, established our current system of community supports, and laid the foundation civil rights protection people with IDD.

1973

1975 - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act signed

IDEA is composed of four parts: the general provisions of the law; assistance for education of all children with disabilities; infants and toddlers with disabilities, including children from birth to age three; and the national support programs administered at the federal level.

1975

1990 - ADA passed

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

1990

1998 - NY CARES Act

Gov. George Pataki establishes the NY CARES act, which created placements for individuals seeking out-of-home placements in community homes and residences.

1998

1999 - Olmstead Decision

On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.

1998

1999 - Olmstead Act established

Requires the provision of services in integrated setting.

1999

2003 - Health Care Decisions Act established

The Health Care Decisions Act, contained in the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, was established. It provided explicit authority for Article 17-A guardianships of the Person to make health care decisions, including for the first time, decisions to withhold and/or withdraw life sustaining treatment.

2003

2005 - Disability Act 2005

This places a statutory obligation on public service providers to further enhance services and facilities for people with disabilities.

2005

2008 - ADA Amended

The amendment redefined the term “disability,” including by defining “major life activities” and “being regarded as having such an impairment.” This increased the number and types of people protected under the ADA and other federal nondiscrimination laws.

2008

2010 - Rosa's Law

An act to change references in Federal law to mental retardation to references to an intellectual disability, and change references to a mentally retarded individual to references to an individual with an intellectual disability.

2008

2014 - Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act WIOA

WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve the nation's public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.

2008

2016 - The first merger

The Genesee Arc and the Arc of Orleans County merge to create the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

2016

2017 - Rebranding

NYSARC adopts the brand of the Arc of the United States and rebrands to “The Arc New York,” but its corporate name remains the same. Arc of Genesee Orleans and Arc of Livingston-Wyoming also rebrand.

2017

2021 - Second merger

The Arcs of Livingston Wyoming and Genesee Orleans merged to create Arc GLOW, which we are known as today. Geographically we are the largest Arc chapter in New York state.

2021

Legislation Key

Source (Department of Labor)

In the 1960s, Americans who knew only the potential of “equal protection of the laws” expected the president, the Congress, and the courts to fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment. In response, all three branches of the federal government — as well as the public at large — debated a fundamental constitutional question: Does the Constitution’s prohibition of denying equal protection always ban the use of racial, ethnic, or gender criteria in an attempt to bring social justice and social benefits?

In June 1963, President John Kennedy asked Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, induced by massive resistance to desegregation and the murder of Medgar Evers. After Kennedy’s assassination in November, President Lyndon Johnson pressed hard, with the support of Roy Wilkins and Clarence Mitchell, to secure the bill’s passage the following year. In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352 (78 Stat. 241). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing. The Act prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also strengthened the enforcement of voting rights and the desegregation of schools.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the nation’s benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America. Passage of the Act ended the application of “Jim Crow” laws, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court held that racial segregation purported to be “separate but equal” was constitutional. The Civil Rights Act was eventually expanded by Congress to strengthen enforcement of these fundamental civil rights.

Source (Department of Education)

On Nov. 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In adopting this landmark civil rights measure, Congress opened public school doors for millions of children with disabilities and laid the foundation of the country’s commitment to ensuring that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents, share their gifts, and contribute to their communities.

The law guaranteed access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to every child with a disability. Subsequent amendments, as reflected in the IDEA, have led to an increased emphasis on access to the general education curriculum, the provision of services for young children from birth through five, transition planning, and accountability for the achievement of students with disabilities. The IDEA upholds and protects the rights of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families.

In the last 40+ years, the United States Department of Education have advanced their expectations for all children, including children with disabilities. Classrooms have become more inclusive and the future of children with disabilities is brighter. Significant progress has been made toward protecting the rights of, meeting the individual needs of, and improving educational results and outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities.

Since 1975, the Department of Education have progressed from excluding nearly 1.8 million children with disabilities from public schools to providing special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs to more than 7.5 million children with disabilities in 2020-21.

In 2020-21, more than 66 percent of children with disabilities are in general education classrooms 80 percent or more of their school day, and early intervention services are being provided to more than 363,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

Source (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

A person with a disability is someone who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • has a history or record of such an impairment (such as cancer that is in remission), or
  • is perceived by others as having such an impairment (such as a person who has scars from a severe burn).

If a person falls into any of these categories, the ADA protects them. Because the ADA is a law, and not a benefit program, you do not need to apply for coverage.