Statehouse Advocacy

Join Our Mission

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

At The Arc of Northern Virginia, we speak out on issues that affect large portions of our disability community, like waivers, job supports, and early intervention.  We engage in systems-level advocacy activities focused at the state and local level.  Occasionally, we will join our national organization to support some advocacy efforts on the federal level.  These advocacy activities are undertaken with the goal of creating meaningful change for all families and individuals with I/DD, not individual cases.


It is estimated that there are over 39,000 people with 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.

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.


legislative update header image, with text and a photo of the Virginia state capital building.

Know Our 2023 State Legislative Priorities

The Arc of Virginia, in partnership with local chapters across the Commonwealth, announce our advocacy priorities. This year, The Arc of Virginia is partnering with vaACCESS (Virginia Association of Community Rehabilitation Programs) to advocate for the DD System Transformation, a bold, significant prioritization and investment is needed over the next biennium in order to stabilize Virginia’s waiver program. The goal is to encourage investment in solutions that will systematically transform the DD System of Support from a costly reactive system that only intervenes once someone is in crisis, to a proactive system.


Advocates and providers across Virginia will be focused on these essential steps:


•  Stimulate Provider Buinesses through Innovation–  Pass  one-time funding legislation designed to build system capacity.
•  Eliminate the Crisis–  Fully fund Priority 1 DD waviers, transforming the system from reactive to proactive.
•  Build System Sustainability–  Develop a framework for a Core Services waiver.


In addition to the DD System Rescue Plan, The Arc of Virginia and local chapters across the commonwealth will also speak out on these additional topics:


•  Increase Peer Mentoring Rate–  The only direct service left out of last year’s DD Waiver rate increases.
•  Combine Spending Caps for AT, EM and EHBS–  The current budget caps for Assistive Technology (AT), Environmental Modifications (EM), and
Electronic Home-Based Services (EHBS) are too low per service to provide adequate access to
modernized, specialized technology necessary to increase abilities.
•  Address DD Medicaid Waiver Eligibility Risks Based on Income Limits
•  Ensure Public Participation Access to Virtual Meetings–  Public meetings – including those public commissions, boards, and work groups where citizens are appointed – must include full virtual access for equitable participation, including for voting on agenda items.
•  Remove “Handicap” Terminology from Virginia Code–  Language reflects how we value people, and should be updated to affirm Virginia’s respect of
and for people with disabilities.


2023 Legislative Priorities Webinar

Our Director of Advocacy, Lucy Beadnell, discusses The Arc of Northern Virginia’s 2023 Legislative and Budget Priorities. The recording will review the issues on which we’ll focus during the General Assembly session, and give information on how and when you can join us in helping make these proposals become a reality.


watch button


Download the 2023 Legislative Priorities flyer – UPDATED


Download the 2023 General Assembly Session Advocacy Toolkit


See a List of ALL the 2023 Bills We are Supporting – UPDATED 1/23/2023


Join Our Advocacy Activities

Tell Your Story

Your story matters!  Elected officials are often bombarded with graphs, data, and charts. However, what really resonates is a personal story. Stories are remembered over time and continue to influence policy long after you tell them.  < Read More >


Attend a Town Hall Meeting or Candidate Forum

Before the General Assembly session begins and on weekends during the session, state lawmakers hold town halls all over Northern Virginia to give their constituents updates and receive feedback. During election season, those running for office are invited to speak on their positions and hear from the voters.  We always need people to join us in solidarity and speak at these events.



Host a Lawmaker

Between the end of General Assembly session and the end of the year, we work with families to invite their legislators to come to their homes for a visit. The family tells their story of what is working and what is not, while staff from The Arc of Northern Virginia shares the statewide perspective and data.


Attend a Local Budget Hearing

We follow the budget processes at the city and county level, and will speak out at local budget hearings and other information sessions. We always need people to join us in solidarity and speak at these events.



Join Us at the State House in Richmond

Each year during General Assembly, we take a bus to Richmond for Developmental Disabilities Advocacy Day.  We always need people to join us on the bus, speak to legislators in Richmond, attend rallies, and come back that day.


Stay Informed

We send out Action Alerts to people on our listserv when critical votes, policies, or budget issues are coming up.  By being on each of our three email lists, you’ll get all of the critical updates on local, state, and federal issues. We love for families to be a part of the full Arc network and you’ll always have opportunities to advocate!  < Read More >


Contact Your Representatives

We’ll give you the information you need to pick up the phone or write an email and help us ensure things go the right way for people with disabilities.


Learn to be a Self-Advocate

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.  < Read More >


Support Our Work

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

Between the end of General Assembly session and the end of the year, we work with families to invite their legislators to come to their homes for a visit. The family tells their story of what is working and what is not, while staff from The Arc of Northern Virginia shares the statewide perspective and data.


Follow Us and Share Our Posts on Social Media

The power of social media is the ability to spread messages across vast audiences.  When you share our pictures, posts, events, and videos on Facebook, you help spread the word about the important work of The Arc of Northern Virginia.  When you reTweet, or share on your LinkedIn network, your friends, family, and colleagues know and understand the important issues you care about.


Our Advocacy Partners

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.



Questons or Comments?

Contact Lucy Beadnell, Director of Advocacy at The Arc of Northern Virginia
at (703) 208-1119  ext. 116 or email