The Arc of Central Alabama serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families through comprehensive and quality programming, advocacy efforts, education, and awareness, all in an effort to ensure each person affected by IDD has the opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential for the most independent life possible.

Our vision is that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will live the lives they choose as valued, contributing, and equal members of their community. We work toward this by:

  1. Serving those who cannot find support elsewhere
  2. Acting as an advocate
  3. Providing necessary and innovative programs
  4. Collaborating with individuals, families, and other natural supports to improve quality of life throughout lifetimes

The Arc of Central Alabama provides services to over 700 people with intellectual disabilities in two Alabama counties. Services are provided through adult day habilitation/work programs at seven campuses; through residential programs for individuals in 80 residences; and through early intervention for young children and their families throughout the community.

What Makes Us Unique

WE TAKE ALL REFERRALS: The Arc of Central Alabama is the only non-reject program in Alabama, which means that we take all referrals for our services regardless of the severity of disability, accepting intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals with psychiatric needs, profound intellectual disabilities, and/or significant behavioral challenges, as well as those who are medically fragile.  We handle the most critical cases, in addition to working successfully with individuals with moderate disabilities.  We are also one of the largest providers of services for those on the autism spectrum.

WE SUPPORT ALL AGES: The Arc has programs for all ages. For example, Early Intervention serves young children, while our Residential Program serves adolescents and adults. Also, the majority of adults served by The Arc of Central Alabama stay in our programs until the end of life.

If you are interested in any of the services The Arc of Central Alabama provides, click here to find out more.

Title VI Notice of Protection Against Discrimination: The Arc of Central Alabama operates its programs without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with The Arc of Central Alabama. For more information on the civil rights program and the procedures to file a complaint, contact us at (205) 323-6383. If information is needed in another language, then contact (205) 705-1836. Further, a complaint may be filed directly with the Federal Transit Administration by contacting the Office Of Civil Rights with Attention to Title VI Program Coordinator at 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590. 

Our History

1953: A group of parents concerned about the education of their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities came together to form the Association for Retarded Children and establish a school, which became known as The Opportunity Center.

1978: Federal legislation established curriculum in public schools for all children with disabilities until age 21. Since then, The Arc has focused our efforts on Early Intervention services for children from birth to three years and on Day and Residential programs for adults age 21 and older who have aged out of the public school system.

1985: With grants from the Alabama Department of Mental Health, we added our first work training facility, Arc Way Industries, on 1st Avenue North in Birmingham.

1996: We officially changed our name to The Arc of Jefferson County. To learn why we use the word ‘Arc’ instead of the acronym ‘ARC’, click here.

2005: The Arc of Central Alabama acquired The Arc of Blount County, overseeing operations and extended services to those with IDD.

2006: The Tom Leonard Center opened to provide day and vocational services in the Hoover/Vestavia Hills area.  In following years, The Arc acquired a three-home residential program serving 25 people previously operated by UCP of Greater Birmingham, as well as The Saint Andrew’s Residential Program, which served almost 30 people in four homes.

2014: The Arc of Jefferson County moved its main campus to the former Salvation Army Youth Center in Crestwood and also took over the services for more than 70 people from the Jefferson Blount St. Clair Mental Health Authority.  

2018: To better represent our footprint and service area, The Arc of Jefferson County underwent a name change to become The Arc of Central Alabama.

The Arc of Central Alabama is a proud chapter of The Arc of Alabama and The Arc of The United States.  We are also the Department of Mental Health’s designated provider for Region V Emergency Crisis Care for individuals and families in crisis in Alabama.