The Arc of Durham County

When I discovered that the Arc of Durham County domain was available I bought it with the goal of restoring as much archived information that I could find to the site. I believe its information is still relevant and important enough to be found on the internet.

The Arc of Durham County is now part of The Arc of the Triangle whose website is at: The Arc of the Triangle offers a variety of programs and services to fit the needs of children and adults with disabilities in the Triangle area.

If you have need of the type of services mentioned on this website, please contact them at
208 N. Columbia St. | Suite 100
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919-942-5119 | Fax 919-942-2119
5121 Hollyridge Drive|Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27612
919-832-2660 | Fax 919-832-5446

The Arc of the Triangle partners with other community agencies such as: The Arc of North Carolina, The Arc of the United States, Triangle Down Syndrome Network, SPCA, Wake County Special Education Advisory Council, as well as Meals On Wheels.

Welcome to the Arc of Durham County

Dedicated to serving people with developmental disabilities and their families, the Arc of Durham County is a non-profit agency.  We strive to create and improve opportunities by providing leadership in and advocacy for quality human services, family support, information and referral, and public awareness.

No government program can help families become self-reliant, contributing members of their communities unless it is built on a recognition of the power of this bone-deep longing for freedom, self-respect, hope and the chance to make an important contribution.

The Arc of Durham County: Who Are We?

The Arc of Durham County is a non-profit agency dedicated to serving people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc strives to create and improve opportunities by providing leadership in and advocacy for quality human services, family support, information and referral, and public awareness.

The Arc of Durham County was started in 1954 by a small group of parents seeking appropriate services for their children in the public school system. It was a membership organization and part of a national network of local organizations under The Arc of the United States. The Arc of Durham members were advocates for their children and many were very involved in social and civic groups, particularly Civitan Clubs. Over the next twenty years, The Arc was instrumental in raising public awareness, fundraising, improving educational supports (including the purchase of accessible buses), and in developing a network of supporters and donors. By the early 1980s, the first part-time Executive Director was hired and in her role encouraged more parent participation and ownership of The Arc. Today, the agency supports over 400 people annually with direct supports and linkages to services. An additional 200-300 people participate in special events, parent group meetings, and social and recreational activities.

The Arc moves into the future with a commitment to help Durham become a better place for ALL citizens. All people have gifts and value to share with those around them. The Arc helps all of us to find the right place to give our gifts and to share the gifts of others.

What Is a Developmental Disability?

In most cases, a developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability that can be attributed to a mental or physical impairment (or both) that began before age 22. The disability must also result in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following major life activities:

  • Self care
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Learning
  • Ability to move
  • Self-direction/motivation
  • Capacity for independence
  • Economic self-sufficiency

Examples of developmental disabilities include: Down Syndrome; Spina Bifida; Autism; Mental Retardation; Fragile X Syndrome; Cerebral Palsy; Genetic Disorders.

What We Do

Family Support:

The Arc of Durham’s Family Support Services help families and individuals with developmental disabilities develop new skills, access information, obtain direct services and supports, learn about innovative programs, receive financial support and build relationships that greatly impact their lives. By leveraging community programs and linking families to an array of existing resources, The Arc and families are together creating systems of support that meet individualized needs.


First in Families

First In Families of Durham is part of a state-wide initiative that seeks to help people with developmental disabilities and their families live as active members of their communities. The local project is housed at The Arc of Durham County.



Respite care gives relief to family caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities to reduce stress and allow time for themselves, other family members or whatever they need to “get a break”. Benefits include:

  • Relief of stress on family caregivers
  • Enhancing family relationships
  • Time for personal, social and recreational interests
  • Access to appropriate physical care, developmental and recreational activities, and community resources


Common Ground:

Common Ground is a group of adults interested in self-advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. Members strive to be better self-advocates, learn their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and enjoy social activities and community outings.


Parent Link Up:

Parent Link-Up is an opportunity for parents and adult family members of people with developmental disabilities to have some respite from daily caregiving and seek support from their peers. We meet on the fifth Tuesday of the month (about 4 times per year) for dinner and lively conversation.



The sibling group began several years ago at the request of four families, two of whom were Arc members. Siblings of children with developmental disabilities have an opportunity to confidentially express what it is like to have a sister or brother with special needs. It has evolved into a great experience for the young participants, most of whom are quite anxious for the "next sibling group".

Sibshops is currently on hiatus; please check back to find out when we will resume


Public Advocacy and Community Education (P.A.C.E.):

In an effort to build awareness and educate the community about what people with developmental disabilities and their families want and need to succeed, The Arc of Durham advocates at the local and state levels to ensure fair and appropriate representation on public policy issues. Additionally, The Arc advocates on behalf of individuals and families, shares information, makes referrals to supports and services in our community, and conducts parent education programs.


Family Wish List:

Requests for assistance by families that we support often include clothing and household items. First In Families of Durham welcomes your donations, especially:

  • Groceries (non-perishable) or grocery gift cards
  • Gas gift cards
  • Diapers (infant and adult)
  • Clothing of all sizes
  • Computers/technology in usable condition
  • Furniture (especially beds and mattresses)
  • Fans and A/C units; Portable heaters
  • Lamps

Our storage space is extremely limited; please call ahead if you have large items!


Information and Referrals:

The Arc of Durham and First in Families maintain a comprehensive guide to resources in the community for individuals and families. Our in-office binders provide detailed information and copies of brochures from many of these resources; feel free to call and set up a time to go through these books in person. The resource guide's index is available online.