The Arc of Northern Virginia serves Arlington and Fairfax Counties and the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, and Alexandria. We focus on issues that affect large portions of our disability community, like waivers, job supports, and early intervention. We perform systems level advocacy mainly focused at the state and local level, with some federal work. Our efforts are concentrated on creating change for everyone, not individual cases. Help us to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Our Advocacy Committee is always looking for people with a passion for making change. We welcome anyone who would like to come to our bi-monthly meetings and discuss advocacy needs, as well as lead or work on advocacy campaigns. We meet at 11 AM on even numbered months at The Arc of Northern Virginia.
Contact Lucy Beadnell,Director of Advocacy, Director of Advocacy, if you have an interest in joining.

By Phone: 703-208-1119  x116
By Email


Get To Know Our Advocacy Efforts


Advocacy Priorities – We work hard to stay up to date on all issues of concern to the disability community, so our priorities shift with time. However, our fundamental focus is ensuring that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the right to “A Life Like Yours.”

2018 Legislative Agenda–  The Arc of Virginia and the Legislative Agenda outlining our priorities for 2018.


Budget Hearing Toolkit – Click Here!  The January 3rd budget hearings provide an opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, providers and concerned citizens to provide public input on the state budget. The goal of this budget hearing toolkit is to support your advocacy at these hearings.


DD Advocacy Day Rescheduled from January 17, 2018 to February 13

We’re excited to have lots of new advocacy options in the works.  Please let me know if you’d like to join us for any (or all!) of the following:


1. We’ll head to Richmond for a mini-DD Advocacy Day on Tuesday, February 13th. This will be a smaller trip than our original plan.  I’m hoping to have about 30 total people who can join.  We will carpool instead of taking the bus this time.  One carpool location will likely be the commuter lot at Rt. 123/I-95, but we can set up more based upon the needs of folks who are RSVP’ing.  We will still aim to be at the General Assembly around 9 AM, then have meetings until 11 AM when caucus begins.  We will have lunch together, courtesy of our state chapter, then head home around 12/12:30 PM.  I’ll still arrange meetings for anyone coming and put us on teams, but it will be about 1/2 the size and scale of our original planned January Day.  Please let me know right away if you’d like to join!

2. We’ll head back to Richmond on Wednesday, February 21st for a Disability Advocacy Art Show.  Delegate Kory sponsors this event.  As the new building is so small, it will be in an art gallery space across the street at SunTrust.  The show will feature artists from our area and Richmond with disabilities.  We will carpool for this day, too, with plans similar to the mini-DD Advocacy Day above.  The art show is from 9 AM-12 PM, so we’ll be there for a large portion, and also walk to the Pocahontas building to drop off updated materials for legislators.  This day will be a mix of celebration and advocacy with few formal meetings, but lots of dropping off materials for many legislators to keep them up to date on our issues.  Please let me know right away if you’d like to join!

3. Most Saturdays from now until the end of February will have a local town hall with 2 or more legislators.  I’ll keep you updated as town halls for your legislators crop up.  They’re all local and a great way to go and give a quick speech or comment (I’ll help!) if you can’t make it all the way to Richmond, or if you want to have extra time with your legislators to really drive our issues home.

4. We’ll release Action Alerts during session when there are critical times to call or email legislators based on votes coming up.  Be on the lookout!  We usually need folks to call/email the day of the alert. Make sure you are receiving our alerts.

5. We host a monthly meeting for self-advocates to learn about advocacy and improve public speaking skills called People First/A Life Like Yours Toastmasters.  Anyone is welcome to join anytime! Click here for dates and times.

6. Each month we share Waiver Stories with our legislators to keep the waiting list in their mind all year.  I’ll talk to you and write a draft of how the Waiver is a part of your life, either on the waiting list or using one, and we’ll share them with legislators.  We always need new stories!  Ask about this anytime.

7. During the late summer and fall, we’ll ask legislators to meet people locally in their homes to hear their stories.  We call this My Life, My Community, My Legislator.  I’ll set up and run the meeting, you’ll provide the home and story.  Let me know if you’d like to do this anytime.

8. Ensure you’re signed up for emails from us, our state chapter, our national chapter for federal issues and the Autism Society of NOVA to get all the advocacy news!

Looking forward to seeing you this advocacy season!
Lucy Beadnell, Director of Advocacy, The Arc of Northern Virginia

To RSVP, for more information, or to join our Advocacy E-mail List, contact Lucy
Beadnell at (703) 208-1119 x116,


Disability and Criminal Justice Reform

Respectability just released a white paper on the intersection of Disability and Criminal Justice Reform.  The report begins by highlighting what we have come to know at The Arc of Northern Virginia quite personally– people with developmental disabilities are much more likely to have negative interactions with the justice system and end up incarcerated than the typically developing population.
In light of this report, we have updated our Justice Guides (Below).  There is a version for people with disabilities and their families aimed at planning to prevent negative interactions and how to managed if something goes wrong.  We have a parallel guide for attorneys hired to represent people with developmental disabilities to learn about the unique needs and rights of their new clients.
Please read these guides and share this valuable information.  As the Respectability report highlights, this knowledge can be life changing.

Developing Positive Interactions for People with Developmental Disabilities and First Responders, Police, and the Justice System:  Guide for People with Developmental Disabilities and their Loved Ones  Guide for Families 12.7.17 (1)

When Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Become Involved in the Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Attorneys   Guide for Attorneys 12.7.17 (1)

If you have a question about disability and justice information, please contact our Director of Advocacy, Lucy Beadnell at


Virginia Ability Alliance – (VAA) – The Virginia Ability Alliance is a coalition of non-profit organizations representing people with disabilities in Virginia. The VAA advocates for community opportunities for people with disabilities, and supports investments of state, local, and private resources in building access to the community in all settings. Our members include The Arc of Northern Virginia, the Autism Society of Northern Virginia, the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia, and many others.


People First – and ALLY Toastmasters – People First is our chapter of a national self-advocacy group. We have combined the mission of People First with an adapted chapter of Toastmasters. We support self-advocates in learning about issues that affect them, then learning to speak up and advocate for change. We welcome anyone to join us for this free program.

About Our Advocacy

Join Our Mission – Help us to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It is estimated that there are over 16,000 people intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Northern Virginia region. This number continues to grow as rates of autism rise and more families come to this area for Special Education services. We know that I/DD touches everyone at some point in their lifetime though a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. We welcome everyone to join our efforts to make Northern Virginia a better place for people with disabilities.

Be a part of an organization that advocates for the creation of “A Life Like Yours” for Virginians of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here are some ways you can join us:

    • Become a member of The Arc of Northern Virginia
    • Attend a local or state-wide hearing or forum on disability issues
    • Speak to an elected official to tell your story (we can help you!)
    • “Like” our page on Facebook
    • Attend a meeting of People First/ALLY Toastmasters
    • Contact Lucy Beadnell , for more information on how you can help be a part of the civil rights movement for people with disabilities.