History of Independence Association

As of January 2014 Independence Association came into existence when five area families decided to part ways with the Bath-Brunswick Regional Association for Retarded Children (ARC); which is now Elmhurst, Inc.   On September 14th, 1966 Charles Payne Jr., Frances Payne, James Diemer, Doris Diemer, Gerard Philippon, Gloria Michaud, and Anne Donovan, signed the Articles that Incorporated the Youth Development Center for Retarded Children, Inc. In 1977 the Youth Development Center for Retarded Citizens opened up its first Residential Home in Freeport named “Independence House”.  In 1978 an arts-based adult day program was created named Spindleworks. Also in 1979 a broad-based adult day program which is now called EnvisionME was created. In April, 1979 the Youth Development Center for Retarded Children rejoined the national Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC) as its own chapter; and the name was changed to The Independence Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). In 1980 the Community Living and Employment Services programs were developed. In 1992 the organization left the national ARC and changed its name to Independence Association, Inc.  In 1998, Independence Association developed the Children’s In-Home Support Program which was followed up in 2000 by the Targeted Case Management program. In 2006 Independence Association played a pivotal role in the elimination of State Institutions by assuming the responsibility to deinstitutionalize Freeport Town Square.  Freeport Town Square was a residential institution operated by Maine DHHS.  As a result, Independence Association opened up four new group homes throughout the greater Brunswick area.  In 2011 using Spindleworks as a model of success, Independence Association opened a small arts based program in Hallowell, Maine named Spinoff Studio. Due to it's popularity, the studio needed to expand and has since relocated to Gardiner. Today, Independence Association employs almost 250 people who serve over 400 individuals with disabilities in five counties.  Service and supports are provided via four Community Supports programs; 15-residential group homes; Adult and Children’s Case Management; Vocational Rehabilitation and long term Employment Services; Community and Shared Living; In-Home Supports; Psychological Consultation; and Behavior Analysis.