IAC was formed in 1977 by thirty non-profit agencies that sought to impact on the creation of a new service environment in response to the court-ordered deinstitutionalization of individuals with I/DD. Many of the original IAC member agencies were founded by parents of children with developmental disabilities who were determined to ensure that the horrors of Willowbrook were never repeated.
At this time, government was seeking to create a community-based model to replace the large institutions which were warehouses where residents faced abuse and neglect. However, the court mandates focused on residents of these institutions, but failed to recognize the needs of individuals with I/DD who lived at home with their families. The IAC founding members quickly realized that they had to form a partnership with the regulatory agencies to ensure that service development would result in meaningful lives for all individuals with I/DD.
Over the years IAC has nurtured its relationship with regulatory agencies so, rather than an adversary, IAC is seen as a partner in development offering insight and data. However, when necessary, IAC is ready to confront the regulators as well as the legislature to ensure the individuals with I/DD and their families are provided with services and supports that allow them to realize their full potential and are fully integrated into their community.