The Arc’s Advocacy Program works to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded their full rights and have access to the services to which they are entitled. It has two focused areas of support:
Education Advocacy which supports parents of school-age children thought their 21st birthday in navigating the special education system;
Systems Advocacy which ensures all individuals seeking support are assisted in navigating the extremely complicated systems to maximize the support they are eligible for and need.
All children and students from ages five through 21 years old who are eligible can access The Arc of Chester County’s Education Advocacy services. A trained education advocate will provide services to help parents, guardians, and students develop a plan of action for obtaining a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to ensure that students make meaningful progress on their educational goals. A trained educational advocate will:
- Review the current Evaluation Report (ER), Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and other pertinent documents.
- Accompany parents to school and IEP meeting to obtain support for their child.
- Help parents to understand and navigate the education processes and system.
- Inform parents/guardians about their child’s rights regarding the special education process and how to partner with the school team to effectively resolve issues.
- Listen to concerns, gather valuable information, and support parents/guardians to be their child’s best advocate.
The Arc of Chester County offers Systems Advocacy to help families and self-advocates understand and navigate the mental health/intellectual and developmental disability (including autism) service systems.
Arc advocates safeguard individual rights, empower individuals, and promote self-determination and inclusion. Trained professionals provide the following supports:
- Provide resource connections and referrals.
- Help parents plan for their adult child’s future and effectively participate in planning meetings.
- Accompany self-advocates and families to meetings as needed.
- Provide ongoing support for self-advocates who have limited family involvement.
- Initiate, promote, and support individual and county-wide self-determination and self-advocacy efforts.
- Support self-advocates to attend local meetings to stay informed about systems changes and upcoming events.
- Monitor progress made in the areas of inclusion, self-determination, employment, home, and community supports, and recreation.
For more information or to request advocacy support, please complete the following form: