In 1953, in an effort to find help for people with retardation within the community,  a group of parents organized the Polk County Association for Retarded Children. Their initial goals were to create awareness within the community and find parents and children with mental retardation who had been isolated from the mainstream, and to educate themselves as parents. Since 1953, Link has affected the lives of hundreds, by providing support and services to individuals and their family members.  Formerly known as Polk County Association for Retarded Children, the agency was established to find help for families who had children with special needs.  In 1988, the Board of Directors and members of Polk County ARC voted to disaffiliate with the national and state chapters of the Association of Retarded Citizens and the agency changed its name to Polk County Association for Retarded People (Polk County ARP).  To further distinguish the agency as an independent, direct care service provider that links people with mental retardation to appropriate supports and services, in 1992, Polk County ARP changed its name to Link Associates.

Over the years, Link Associates has evolved and grown and presently serves over 1,200 individuals and their families.  Although there are other organizations in Des Moines that serve individuals with mental retardation, Link Associates is the only organization that provides a full range of services.  When combined, services meet the full spectrum of an individual’s needs as well as their family members.  Link Associates is the only:

•  In-home provider of respite services for the families of a person with mental retardation

•  Organization with an extensive and specially staffed leisure program

•  Organization with day services for elderly and retired persons with mental retardation within the Polk County, Iowa area. 

•  Private provider of Medicaid authorized transportation.  

•  Skill training is designed to promote growth and maximum independence at home, work, and within the community.  Six core habilitation programs prepare our clients to reach their unique personal goals