Children, Youth, & Their Families

Informing, Connecting, and Empowering families with knowledge and resources, The Arc is a partner in your journey to help your child develop their unique talents and interests.

The Arc connects parents and family members with the resources needed to feel confident and capable of helping their child thrive. Services are designed to complement existing resources for children and youth under the age of 21. Learning how to solve problems, make decisions, develop goals, and follow through builds self-reliance and trust in one’s ability to be successful. 

When a child is diagnosed with a disability, the family is thrust into a new world; acronyms that everyone else seems to know, the uncertainty of where to turn, and an unclear way forward.

With The Arc, families have a place to turn, a trusted partner in helping their child succeed. The Arc acts as a facilitator, a bridge to understanding the local resources and the people, support, and options available.

Caring for a child with a disability can be stressful. The added stress of not knowing who to turn to is unnecessary. The Arc connects families with the needed resources; the people, programs, and opportunities they need. And these connections start with a simple phone call to one person who will find the answer if they don’t already know it.  

Family Supports

This program means people under 21 can access additional resources through ​The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) via a qualified provider. The Arc is a Family Supports Provider, one of only a handful in our area. Family supports are geared toward out-of-school time; weekends, evenings, and summer break. We help families access needed services like assistive technology, vehicle modifications, respite care, and training.

Educational Advocacy

School-aged students with a disability, birth to age 21, are entitled to a free and appropriate education. This means each child is looked at individually to determine the supports or accommodations needed to be successful in school. The Arc can help families navigate the education system, create and update individual education plans (IEPs), find needed resources, and work with the school system to make positive changes.

The Family Fund

To better understand the additional costs for families with a child with a disability, Researchers Mark Stabile and Sara Allin recently examined evidence about three kinds of costs; “direct, out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of the child’s disability; indirect costs incurred by the family managing disability supports and long-term costs associated with the child’s future economic performance.” Stabile and Allin’s research titled, The Economic Costs of Childhood Disability, showed the average cost incurred supporting a child’s disability is $30,500 a year per, on top of the typical expenses of a family.

Because we know there are incredibly effective camps, therapies, equipment, and learning opportunities not fully covered by insurance and often out of reach financially, we developed the Family Fund. A grant program, the Family Fund is there to help fill gaps in providing quality of life enrichment needs for youth under the age of 21.

Additional information and frequently asked questions about the Family Fund

Resources & Support Groups

The Arc uses a holistic approach to our work which allows for flexibility in helping people understand and access the services that best fit their needs; from early childhood through retirement. This holistic approach means we support people through the entirety of their life and encompassing their physical, mental, spiritual, financial, and emotional wellbeing.

We have multiple resource and support groups available to help you learn and contribute. From SibShops for siblings of a child with a disability, to the Life Transition Series, we have a way for you to connect with the people and information you need in the way you find most useful.

SibShops is an annual five workshop series run in partnership with the Infants and Toddlers Program, and The Judy Center. Each workshop intermingles information, discussion activities, games, cooking activities and special guests. Most importantly it is an opportunity for peer support. According to a 2005 University of Washington survey of adults who attended Sibshops as children, over 90 percent of the respondents said Sibshops had a positive effect on the feelings they had for their siblings, taught coping strategies to over two-thirds of respondents, three-fourths reported that Sibshops affected their adult lives, and 94 percent said they would recommend Sibshops to others.

Friends of Birth to Five, a support group for parents and family members of children with disabilities, provides education and empowerment while connecting families to community resources. The families we help often point to being supported in their efforts as a critical factor in achieving successful outcomes. This program, in partnership with Anne Arundel County Infant and Toddlers, is designed by and for family members with trained facilitators who guide discussion.  
Parent Ambassador Program

Cup of Caring These monthly coffee talks in Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore are a place of sharing and learning. The talks are facilitated by The Arc Family Engagement and Navigation Coordinator. Caregivers and interested community members will have a chance to ask questions, to learn and to share information about resources for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities -and enjoy a free cup of coffee together. All family members are welcome.

Life Transition Series The Life Transition Series is comprised of 9 workshops designed to provide families of students with disabilities graduating high school with valuable information and resources to facilitate a seamless transition. Each workshop delves into knowledge families have told us is most helpful as they help their young adult transition from high school to follow-on school, work, and community.


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