Nearly 60 years ago, there were no organized services for people with developmental disabilities in Putnam County. The choice that families were presented with back then was to either care for their child at home or to place their child in a state school or institutional setting. Both were heart-wrenching and burdensome decisions for families. Our local public schools were not equipped to accommodate children with disabilities, and there were no day programs or vocational services for adults. Collaborative services for high school students, respite programs for caregivers, community-based residential facilities, therapeutic preschool programs, none of this existed.
PARC was recognized as a chapter of NYSARC, INC., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, in 1954 through the efforts of ten families who sought services for their young children who were not protected by legislation ensuring equal education. In 1972, PARC served twelve adults and thirteen children with a total budget of $25,000. A major player in the deinstitutionalization process, PARC currently employs 450 staff and has grown to be the lead provider of services to over 650 people from birth through advanced age, and their families, in Putnam County.