DCARA was established in 1962 by a group of deaf leaders in Berkeley. It is the oldest deaf-controlled agency in the nation and serves as a role model for other deaf service agencies. In 1978 , DCARA was part of a demonstration project to determine if deaf services are more effectively provided by deaf staffed and controlled agencies. The answer was a resounding “Yes.” From its grass roots origin, DCARA has become the largest deaf service agency in Northern California, and has serviced the community from 15 sites in the coastal area from Santa Cruz, to the San Francisco Bay area, to the Oregon border. Funding is provided by the following:
* State of California Department of Social Services
* State of California Employment Development Department
* City of San Leandro
* City of Fremont
* City of San Jose
* Alameda County
* Santa Clara County
DCARA's mission is to promote self-determination, independence, and celebration of American Sign Language among a diverse Deaf community, regardless of their communication background, through its services and programs.
In order to accomplish this, DCARA provides its clients and communities with the resources, access and counseling services they need to make independent decisions in a variety of situations. In addition, DCARA provides the hearing community with information about the Deaf community and working and living with persons who are Deaf, Deaf-blind, Deafened and hard of hearing, as well as collaborating with other agencies to ensure that their services are more accessible to population that DCARA serves.