Arc Baton Rouge provides services to people with disabilities

Arc Baton Rouge provides services to people with disabilities
Source: Arc Baton Rouge Facebook Page

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Arc Baton Rouge provides services to people with disabilities. The Arc Baton Rouge is the local chapter of The Arc of The United States, which is the nation's largest and leading organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

March 1, 2011 was the birth of the new brand for A.R.C., an organization providing invaluable services, support and advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, throughout the US.

In spite of a 60-year history of passion, leadership and limitless impact on the lives of thousands of people, it was an organization with incredibly low awareness on a national scale. With this new branding, 730 chapters nationwide and 19 chapters throughout Louisiana now share a true collective voice. The impact of a greater national and local presence is bringing the elements of fundraising, volunteerism and visibility together to advance our goals of inclusion, hope, opportunity and achievement.


  • 8326 Kelwood Avenue
  • Baton Rouge, LA 70806


In the 1950s there were no community programs or services available to people with disabilities. Children with severe disabilities were most often placed in institutions.  In 1952 the mother of a child with disabilities wrote to the editor of her local paper, expressing her concern over the lack of adequate services for her child, and appealing to other parents. She and those who responded joined together and formed the Society for the Education of Exceptional Children.

Through their efforts the first class for children with developmental disabilities began through the East Baton Rouge School System. As the needs increased the society began a formal organization and founded Baton Rouge Association for Retarded Children. The name was later changed to The Baton Rouge Association for Retarded Citizens.

In the 1960s as the first group of children grew older, services grew with them.  Monte Sano School in Baton Rouge provided classes for them.  In 1962 the Baton Rouge Sheltered Workshop for the Mentally Retarded opened in the cafeteria at Monte Sano School.  The workshop provided work and rehabilitation services for persons with developmental disabilities.

In 1963 the Activity Training Center (ATC) for adults provided interaction and companionship for adults with disabilities.  Volunteers provided supervision and taught classes in self-care, character building, art and sewing. Two years later the offices and ATC moved into a facility on Wayne Drive.  At this same the Early Intervention Progam began, offering therapy services to babies who had challenges that hindered their ability to grow and learn.

In 1971 the association joined the United Givers Fund, (now the United Way).  The Baton Rouge Sheltered Workshop moved into a new facility on Prescott Road.  A year later the Special Education and Retarded Children's Hope Center (SEARCH) opened its new building next door.

In 1974 the national organization of A.R.C. changed its name to the National Association for Retarded Citizens. Our local organization followed and became the Baton Rouge Association for Retarded Citizens, also recognizing the critical need to serve people with disabilities of all ages.

In 1984 Baton Rouge Respite opened for services on Tunica Street, offering a place of care for people with developmental disabilities when the caregiver was away or needed a break. In 1984 The Early Intervention Program relocated in the former SEARCH building on Prescott Road, offering center-based Intervention services for infants and young children.  The program later expanded to include home-based serices, following the trend to provide assistance in the least restrictive environment.

Programs and community activities of The Arc Baton Rouge continued to grow and expand. The Baton Rouge Sheltered Workshop opened a second location on Dallas Drive. Baton Rouge Vocational Services began providing pre-employment skills training in its new facility on Wooddale Boulevard, and soon after expanded to include job coaching and placement.  Administrative offices were relocated to Kelwood Avenue, where they are today.

In 1990 the Baton Rouge Sheltered Workshop merged with The Arc Baton Rouge and began operating as Metro Enterprises.  The Louisiana Career Development Center (LCDC) opened in 1994, providing pre-vocational assistance for persons who were deaf and deaf-blind. LCDC moved to a new location on Convention Street in 1999, which provided office and classroom space, as well as a mock apartment for training in independent living.

In 1997 The Arc Day School opened as an inclusive child care facility, accepting children with and without disabilities.

For more information about the Arc Baton Rouge, email or call (225) 927-0855.

Information on this page was provided by the Arc Baton Rouge.