Advocacy. Information. Support.
The Arc of Whatcom County office is staffed Monday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Our goal is to act as an information resource, linking persons with developmental disabilities and their families with available resources in the community. Several hundred individuals and their families, guardians and caregivers are served annually.
Educational Programs & Workshops
The Arc of Whatcom County sponsors a variety of educational programs & workshops focusing on current issues that concern persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Topics include guardianships and special needs trusts, long-term planning for special needs families, special health care needs, special education services, early learning issues, individual education plans, transition from high school to work, residential issues and concerns, legislative advocacy, self-empowerment and self-advocate training.
The Arc of Whatcom County provides vouchers for use by individuals and families with developmental disabilities for the purchase of household items or clothing valued up to $50. Written referrals are received in our office from case managers, residential support staff, guardians and other caregivers. When self-referrals are made, letters of support from case managers or another professional in the developmental disabilities field are required for eligibility.
Families that need support with services and resources meet with a trained Parent Advocate to formulate a strategy to obtain services tailored to the needs of their family member. These needs may include special education services, future planning for adult services such as guardianship, government assistance such as Medicaid or conflict resolution regarding standards of care. Learn more about Parent Coalition.
Self-Advocacy (SA) is for young adults ages 16-30 with developmental disabilities. YASA members are encouraged to develop and practice skills to become strong self-advocates. Learn more about Self-Advocacy.
Families needing information and education specifically related to Down syndrome are provided a trained Parent Advocate to address their needs. Families are also connected to other families to develop natural peer support through fun, family-friendly events throughout the year. Learn more about Down Syndrome Outreach.
Medicaid Personal Care Parent Training
Six hours of continuing education are needed to fulfill parental obligations in receiving Medicaid Personal Care funding to care for their family member. Twice a year the Parent Coalition Program conducts trainings tailored to meet the needs of these families.
In an effort to ensure that the needs of persons with developmental disabilities are met with appropriate health and social services, various opportunities exist. Our Local Leadership program offers families a chance to learn how to be effective advocates. Families are encouraged to participate in grass roots advocacy by writing their legislators, participating in seminars, telling their stories to their legislators at our Fall Legislative Coffee and obtaining updated information through our e-Alert list year-round and during the legislative season.