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Advocacy


Adult Advocate

The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is the only provider of Adult Advocacy for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are experiencing issues that threaten their quality of life. The adult system is encumbered with regulations and has typically experienced a lack of funding. We provide free advocacy services for adults who are living with their families or in community-living arrangements. Our Adult Advocate is here to offer individuals and families advice and assistance with any issue such as employment, residential, social service delivery system, or criminal justice. The Arc also provides assistance at agency planning meetings. We are always vigilant regarding suspected abuse and uphold the consumers’ right to self-determination.

Education Advocate

The Arc has always been a leader in education advocacy. The Arc of Pennsylvania, founded in 1949, was the first organization in the country to advocate for the rights of children with disabilities to a free public education. In 1972, The Arc, then known as the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children, filed suit against the Secretary of Education, State Board of Education, and Secretary of Public Welfare on behalf of 13 children who were denied access to free public education. Because of this lawsuit, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agreed to develop plans to identify, locate, evaluate, educate, and train all school-age children with developmental disabilities. This historic action led to the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which afforded all students with disabilities a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). This law has been reauthorized and is now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA).

/The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is the Lehigh Valley’s only provider of Education Advocacy for children/youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are experiencing problems/frustrations with the public schools, providing this service free of charge. Our Education Advocate is here to offer families free expert advice and assistance with any issue that threatens the education the child is entitled to receive under the law. Common issues relate to the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), classroom placement, and providing reasonable accommodations. The Education Advocate also offers assistance to families in developing an action plan and will make referrals to state and local service providers when necessary. The advocate always works toward empowering the parent/guardian to become an informed, active, equal member of his/her child’s IEP team, knowing that the child’s parent/guardian is always the child’s best advocate.

Important Information

The Advocacy Department welcomes the opportunity to assist you.  If you are contacting us for the first time, you will need to complete the intake form located at this link.  Please know, the Advocacy Department does currently have a waiting list and we may be unable to respond immediately to your inquiry.  We value every client who contacts us and we will do our best to reach out to you in a timely fashion. You can contact our Advocacy department by e-mailing us at advocacyintake@arcoflehighnorthampton.org

The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is a non-profit organization as defined by IRS regulations. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

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