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Mission and History

To empower individuals in need of human services to experience full lives in their communities with supports that are innovative, personalized, and valued.

Incompass Human Services has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1954 as the Lowell Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC). What started as a small group of dedicated parents seeking support and services for their children with disabilities in Lowell, Massachusetts has grown into a thriving human services agency that employs 500 highly skilled professionals across a range of specialties that we affectionately refer to as “Care Champions.”

Today, we provide support to nearly 800 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and acquired brain injuries (ABI), as well as their caregivers and families, across a suite of facility-based, community-based, and residential programs, making a meaningful impact on their lives. We operate throughout various regions of Massachusetts, including Greater Lowell, Greater Lawrence, Greater Worcester, and the North Shore.

Throughout our rich history, we have remained true to our founding principles and the vision of our founding families. That mission is rooted in the belief that every individual should have the opportunity to experience a full life. This principle continues to inspire us as we strive to ensure that our group homes, day services, and community supports are innovative, personalized, and valued.

After becoming organized as LARC in 1955, we evolved to become “The Arc of Greater Lowell” in 1980, focusing on providing support and advocacy for people with IDD in the region. The Arc of Greater Lowell quickly established itself as a trusted resource within the community, working tirelessly to ensure that individuals with IDD had equal opportunities and access to essential services.

In 1997, we rebranded ourselves as “LifeLinks, Inc.” to better reflect our evolving range of services and our commitment to empowering individuals to lead fulfilling lives. As LifeLinks, we continued to provide comprehensive support services, including residential programs, day habilitation, vocational training, and community-based support.

Under the visionary leadership of CEO Jean Phelps since 2008, we have aggressively expanded our reach and enhanced our impact to meet the changing needs of the individuals we serve. With Phelps at the helm, our agency has experienced tremendous growth and development, empowering us to provide exemplary services to a growing number of individuals and families.

In 2019, we embarked on an exciting chapter in our history by merging with another esteemed agency based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, CLASS, Inc. This merger brought together two organizations with complementary strengths and expertise, allowing us to enhance our services and broaden our impact. Together, the new entity became known as “LifeLinks CLASS,” creating a unified approach to support people with IDD across the Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence regions.

In 2020, we took another significant step forward, adopting our current brand “Incompass Human Services.” This new brand identity represents our growing service portfolio and our commitment to empowering individuals to navigate and overcome life’s challenges while embracing their unique abilities and strengths in an inclusive community.

In 2021, Incompass Human Services and Peabody, MA-based Bridgewell became the founding affiliates of the New England Human Services Collaborative (NEHSCO). This provider network, where Phelps serves as President, brings together leading human services agencies across New England, fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation in the field. Being a founding affiliate of NEHSCO allows Incompass Human Services to stay at the forefront of best practices and advancements in the provision of support services for individuals with IDD. And in 2023, empowered by the sole-member affiliate structure we created as part of NEHSCO, we announced an affiliation agreement with The Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg that expands our geographic footprint to northern Worcester County.

Today, as Incompass Human Services, we offer a comprehensive range of programs and services tailored to meet the diverse needs of individuals with IDD and ABI and their caregivers and family members. Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, we operate 23 group homes that are distributed throughout the region, along with our Safe Minds ABI Community Center in Tewksbury, MA. Our services include residential support and placement, day habilitation, employment and vocational training, recreational activities, family support, clinical support, respite care, autism support, and rep payee services among many others. We strive to provide person-centered care, ensuring that each individual receives the support they need to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Incompass Human Services is proud to be an affiliated chapter of The Arc of Massachusetts, collaborating closely with the state-level organization to advocate for the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. We are also members of the Massachusetts-based Providers’ Council and Association of Developmental Disability Providers (ADDP), and we are one of the founding sponsors of the Northeast Human Services Advocacy Breakfast. On a national level, Incompass Human Services is actively engaged in the National Council of Executives of the Arc and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), working alongside other leaders across the country to advance our shared mission.

Our dedication to serving the Greater Lowell, Greater Lawrence, and northern Worcester County communities is unwavering. Over the past 70 years, we have built a reputation as an agency that champions those who often find themselves facing the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Our commitment extends to medically fragile individuals with complex medical conditions, court-involved individuals, those with clinical or behavioral complexities, and elders who may be frail and experiencing memory and cognitive challenges.

We are grateful to our dedicated team of Care Champions who go above and beyond every day to provide exceptional support and care. Their commitment and compassion are at the heart of everything we do. And we continue to write the next chapter of our story, making a difference one life at a time. Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.


When considering a human services provider, how do you evaluate the available options?  Where do you look to determine which providers may offer the highest quality services? The answer is CARF International.

Incompass Human Services has built a reputation for serving those who often are forced to the fringes of society and the service network: medically fragile individuals with complex medical conditions, court-involved, clinically, or behaviorally complex individuals, and elders who are frail and compromised in memory and cognition. Our vision is to continue to build on the foundational underpinning of our founding families:  to offer the best services in the most optimal manner for the most effective results: enhancing the life of the person with a developmental disability – “The Incompass Way”.

The Incompass Way

  • To be the premiere, preferred and quintessential provider of services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities that live, work and play in Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence.
  • To ensure that our service offerings and support services are and will remain of the highest quality as viewed by the persons we currently serve, by those who fund and evaluate our programs, services and supports, and by the community at large.
  • To offer individually focused and clinically sound supports to persons who have been labeled as “difficult” to serve.  We will go the extra mile needed to ensure their individual and collective success and to assure that their ability to achieve a full life is recognized and supported.
  • To provide to our staff challenging and rewarding work, coupled with opportunities for professional growth and development.  We will be viewed as one of the best places to work.
  • We are a valued resource in our community and we value the importance of our history as the foundation for the work we do today.
  • We will always be a trusted partner with our funders and supporters, a careful steward of the resources entrusted to us, and a devoted friend to those whom we support with care, concern, and comfort.