Our History

Envision through the years

In 1948, six South Side families found Retarded Children’s Aid (RCA), launching the city›s first group to advocate for educational and vocational opportunities for children with developmental disabilities. By 1950, the group grows to 500 families and launches Chicago’s first special education program at Tuley Park on the South Side. In 1952, a second group of parents forms the Association for Retarded Children, Southwest Chicago.RCA opens the Southwest School in 1953. To address the needs of teens with developmental disabilities, parents open the Southeast School and Vocational Center at the Woodlawn YMCA in 1955. In 1961, The vocational center moved to Temple Israel in Hyde Park. A third group, the Project on Mental Retardation forms to organize the disparate agencies advocating for those with developmental disabilities.Between 1964-and the mid 70s, RCA, the Association for Retarded Children-Southwest Chicago, and the Project on Mental Retardation merge as Chicago Association for Retarded Children (CARC). The organization founds seven schools, vocational schools, and training centers, including two schools in Hispanic communities, and opens Carci Hall, its first residential community living facility.In 1975, a law was passed that mandated educating children with developmental disabilities in the “least restrictive environment.” In 1976, CARC changes name to Chicago Association for Retarded Citizens to reflect broader age group. And between 1983 and 1993, CARC adds more programs, including early intervention, foster care, job placement, ancillary services, and a seniors program.In 2010, CARC changes name to Envision Unlimited. In 2018, the organization adds mental health services through a consolidation with Neumann Family Services. Since 2018, Envision Unlimited has expanded in-house respite services to 18 new counties in Illinois.