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What is United Cerebral Palsy?
United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity (UCP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency serving thousands of people in the Delaware Valley. The organization began in 1946 when a group of six parents set out to make a difference in the lives of their children who were born with cerebral palsy. Learn more about UCP's history.
Location: Where is UCP?
United Cerebral Palsy is based out of its main building at 102 E. Mermaid Lane in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia. UCP maintains 31 community residences and respite care homes in Philadelphia and provides services throughout the Delaware Valley.
Who is served: Does UCP only serve individuals with cerebral palsy?
While initially founded to serve individuals born with cerebral palsy, today UCP provides programs and services to people with a wide variety of physical, developmental, visual, hearing, and speech impairments including autism, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, spinal cord injuries, a diagnosis of intellectual disability, or any physical condition that severely limits an individual's independence.
Service numbers: How many people do you serve?
UCP provides direct care services to more than 3,000 adults, children and their families each year. In addition, the organization responds to thousands of requests for information about UCP services, resources for living with disabilities, and makes referrals to other helping agencies.
What services are available?
Services include physical, speech, and occupational therapies; early intervention; community residential programs; advocacy; information and referral; casework and problem specific support in the community; vocational evaluation and training; job placement and support; partial hospitalization; socialization programs; and adult day program.
Funding: Who pays for these services?
Government agencies provide the bulk of United Cerebral Palsy's income. The state of Pennsylvania provides funds through the office of Developmental Programs for Residential Care, Adult Day Programs, and Community Behavioral Health for the Partial Hospital Program. Pennsylvania also provides funds through the Department of Education for early intervention services. There is a fee-based community day care and pre-kindergarten program open to children in the Philadelphia area. The remainder of UCP's income is earned through special events, private grants, and local and national donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.
UCP National: Isn't United Cerebral Palsy a national organization?
Yes. As one of the largest health charities in America, United Cerebral Palsy works to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network. Serving families in the Delaware Valley, United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia & Vicinity is an affiliate of the national organization.return to top of the page | back to Frequently Asked Questions page
Cerebral palsy: What is it?
Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. It is not a disease. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development, before, during, or shortly after birth, or during infancy.
Types of CP: Are there many?Doctors classify cerebral palsy into three principal categories according to the type of movement disturbance. Spastic cerebral palsy is characterized by muscle stiffness and permanent contractions. Athetoid, or dyskinetic cerebral palsy is characterized by uncontrolled, slow, writhing movements, usually affecting the hands, feet, arms, or legs and, in some cases, the muscles of the face and tongue. Patients may also have problems coordinating the muscle movements needed for speech, a condition known as dysarthria. Ataxic cerebral palsy affects balance and depth perception resulting in poor coordination, an unsteady gait, and difficulty when attempting quick or precise movements. It is not unusual for patients to have symptoms of more than one of the three forms.
Causes of CP: What are they?
Congenital cerebral palsy results from brain injury during pregnancy, labor, or birth. Among the causes is an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching the fetal or newborn brain. Some risk factors may be associated with premature birth, low birth weight, blood type incompatibility between mother and infant, and infections of the mother early in pregnancy. Cerebral palsy is generally present at birth, although may not be detected for months. Traumatic Brian Injury is the most frequent cause of what is known as acquired cerebral palsy, usually the result of motor vehicle accidents, falls, or child abuse.
Effects of CP: What are they?
Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur: muscle tightness or spasticity, involuntary movement, disturbance in gait or mobility, difficulty in swallowing, problems with speech, abnormal sensation and perception, impairment of sight, hearing or speech, seizures, and/or mental retardation. Other problems that may arise are difficulties in feeding, bladder and bowel control, problems with breathing because of postural difficulties, skin disorders because of pressure sores, and learning disabilities.
Numbers: How many people have cerebral palsy in the US?
It is estimated that between 1.5 to 2.0 million children and adults have cerebral palsy in the United States. Each year, 10,000 infants and babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. An additional 1,200 to 1,500 preschool age children are recognized to have cerebral palsy each year.
How can I support UCP?
Visit our Make a Donation page for information for all the ways you can help support us.
How much of my donation will be used to fund programs?
United Cerebral Palsy is one of the most financially responsible organizations in the nation. Every dollar raised by UCP of Philadelphia & Vicinity helps people with disabilities and their families living in the Delaware Valley. At least 85 cents of every dollar raised is spent directly on programs and services, a claim that few other organizations can make.
In Honor or In Memory of: Can I acknowledge someone special?
United Cerebral Palsy is happy to designate your donation "In Honor" or "In Memory" of someone special to you. You can do that on our online donation page, by calling the development department, or mailing your donation to UCP indicating who your gift honors or memorializes.
Matching Gifts: How do I get my employer to match my gift?
Many businesses have matching gift programs. If an employee makes a donation to an organization, the employer is willing to match the amount, thereby doubling the contribution. Each business handles their program differently, so the best thing to do is to start by asking your human resources department.
Receive Mailings: How do I get my name on UCP's mailing list?
To be added to the list, simply fill out the online contact form with your name and address or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a Tour: Can I make an appointment to tour the UCP Adult Services Program?
Contact Adult Services Admissions Coordinator Shelley Silverman at 215-242-4200, ext. 265 or email email@example.com.
Make a Referral: How do I refer someone to the UCP Adult Service Program?
Contact Adult Services Admissions Coordinator Shelley Silverman at 215 242-4200, ext. 265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Funding: Who funds UCP's Adult Programs?
Adult Services receives funding from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), office of Developmental Programs (ODP), and Community Behavioral Health (CBH).
Types of Programs: What programs are available?
UCP Adult Services provides a variety of program experiences which include the Adult Day Programs, Vocational Evaluation Training, Employment Services, WE (Weekends & Evenings) at UCP, and Partial Hospitalization.
People Served: Does an individual have to have cerebral palsy to attend a program at UCP?
While initially founded to serve individuals born with cerebral palsy, United Cerebral Palsy currently provides programs and services to people with a variety of physical, mental, hearing and speech impairments including autism, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, spinal cord injuries, mental illness, a diagnosis of intellectual disability, or any condition that severely limits a person's independence.
Age Requirements: How old do you have to be to join an Adult Services program?
In order to participate in an Adult Services program, you must be 18 and over.
Location: Where do Adult Services programs take place?
All Adult Services programs take place at UCP's center in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, except for community employment opportunities. To the greatest extent possible, job placements are made close to the employee's home.
Transportation: Do you provide transportation to get to and from United Cerebral Palsy?
UCP Adult Services does not provide transportation. Clients in other Adult Programs rely on public transportation through SEPTA or SEPTA's CCT service (Paratransit), or family and friends to travel to and from the center. The Partial Hospital Program participants can be connected with logisticare.
Program Hours: When do people attend Adult Services programs?
Programs begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. Each program area is assigned times for breaks and lunch.
Program Attendance: Can individuals attend on a part-time or full-time basis?
Yes. Individuals can attend part-time (a minimum of three days) or full-time. Frequency of attendance is based on an individual's program plan, which is determined upon entry into an Adult Services Program.
Volunteering: Does your department have volunteers?
The Adult Services department does have a limited amount of opportunities available for volunteers. For details, please contact Adult Services Director Susan Smith at 215-248-7606 or email email@example.com. There are other volunteer options throughout UCP. If you are interested, complete the volunteer form.
Summer Employment: Are there summer job opportunities for youth?
No. The Adult Services department does not offer summer employment opportunities.
Age: How old are the children who receive services at UCP?
The Community-Based and Home-Based programs serve children from birth to five years old. In order to attend the center-based UCP Best Friends program a child must be three months old. Children graduate UCP Best Friends when it is time for kindergarten, which is generally at age five.
Staff: What are the qualifications of your classroom staff?
Our lead teachers have at minimum an Associate's degree in early childhood education. Most of our teachers hold a Bachelor's degree in education. Our teaching assistants all have their Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, as do most of our aides. In order to earn their CDA credential, staff complete 180 hours of professional development related to early-childhood education, the creation of a resource portfolio, and a comprehensive examination and observation.
Service area: What areas do you serve in the community?
We serve Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. While some of our programs serve both of these counties, others are limited to only one.
Pre-K Counts: How can I find out more about Pre-K Counts programs?
You can contact the Director of Children's Services Jodi Miscannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-248-7605.
Hours: What are the hours of UCP Best Friends?
The UCP Best Friends early-childhood program is open five days a week, fifty-two weeks per year from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Enrollment: How do I enroll my child in UCP Best Friends?
Children can be enrolled throughout the year. However, main enrollment is completed in September, and availability may be limited after that time. Contact Director of Children's Services Jodi Miscannon at email@example.com, or call 215-248-7605 to arrange a tour of the facility, fill out an application, and provide the appropriate deposit.
Waiting list: Is there a waiting list for UCP Best Friends?
Once we fill our enrollment capacity, there is a waiting list for UCP Best Friends. To get on the waiting list, prospective parents can contact the Director of Children's Services Jodi Miscannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-248-7605. Parents will arrange for a tour the facility, fill out an application, and provide the appropriate deposit.
Class ratios: What is the classroom ratio of adults to children?
The ratio for infants and toddlers is 1:3. For our three-year-olds, the ratio varies from 1:3 to 1:4. For our pre-k classrooms, the ratio is 1:6.
IEP/IFSP: What should I do if my child has an Individualized Educational Plan or an Individualized Family Service Plan and I am interested in enrolling him/her in your program?
As each child's situation is different, the first step is to contact Director of Children's Services Jodi Miscannon at email@example.com or call 215-248-7605 for more information.
Getting to UCP: Is transportation available to get my child to and from UCP?
Parents or caregivers are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the UCP Best Friends program. Children receiving center-based early intervention services have access to transportation through their public school district. Transportation service is something that should be discussed during your child's IEP meeting.
Children without disabilities: Why would I send my typical child to UCP?
We currently have three Keystone Stars and are part of the Pre-K Counts program-all of which require highly qualified staff. We have a nurse on site for children who may have allergies or asthma, and we have a defined, appropriate curriculum. Our fully inclusive program gives typical children the opportunity to learn and grow with children from diverse backgrounds with diverse learning needs. Our children learn compassion and acceptance while they are learning age appropriate developmental skills.
Volunteers: Do you have any volunteer opportunities?
In order to volunteer in the Children's Services department you must complete a child abuse and FBI criminal-history check. Volunteers are accepted at the discretion of the Director. Volunteers must commit to a consistent schedule. There are other volunteer options throughout UCP. If you are interested, complete the volunteer form.
Request for Service: How can I get help from UCP Community Social Services?
You can call 215-242-4200, ext. 210, email firstname.lastname@example.org, send a letter to the address above, or walk in. We determine whether we can be of assistance on a case by case basis.
Who do you help?
We provide services to people of all ages, who have a variety of disabilities, and who reside in the five-county Philadelphia area, which includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.
Service Area: What areas do your services reach?
We serve families in the Delaware Valley who live in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.
Types of Issues: What issues can you help me with?
UCP Community Social Services provides services to individuals on a variety of topics, including health insurance, cash benefits, education issues, financial aid, Medicaid, waivers, technical and financial assistance with home and vehicle adaptations, and information and advocacy on disability-related issues such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
How is UCP Community Social Services funded?
Funding for the Community Social Services program is provided through special events and other UCP fundraising efforts, including individual contributions.
Are internships available?
Community Social Services accepts unpaid interns in undergraduate and graduate programs, who have an interest in the human services field or related areas. To inquire further about an internship, email email@example.com or call 215-242-4200, ext. 210.
Are volunteers welcome?
While Community Social Services does not utilize volunteers directly, there are other volunteer opportunities throughout UCP. If you are interested, complete the volunteer form.
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What are the eligibility requirements for living in a UCP CLA?
In order to be eligible to live in one of UCP’s Community Living Arrangements, an individual must have a primary diagnosis of intellectual disability and be registered for services with Philadelphia County’s Office of Developmental Programs. In order to register, an Intake appointment can be scheduled by calling 215-685-4677. Following Intake, the individual or family can select from four Support Coordinator Organizations (SCOs), also known as Entities, to coordinate services. If a particular SCO is not selected, however, the Philadelphia Office of Developmental Programs will assign the responsibility for service coordination to one of the SCOs.
SCO Contact: How do I identify and contact my Support Coordinator Organization (SCO)?
There are several SCOs: Consortium, Partnership, PersonLink, Epic and Quality Progressions. Here is their contact information. Calling is the best way to find out which one is yours.
Who has oversight of the Community Living Arrangement program?
UCP homes are licensed by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and have City of Philadelphia Office of Developmental Programs oversight. Quality Enhancement Support Team (QEST) and Visions for Equality are two organizations contracted by the Office of Developmental Programs to provide annual monitoring of services.
Are there any costs involved?
Room and board at a CLA is 72% of an individual’s disability or Social Security income. An individual living in a CLA pays for room and board expenses. Personal spending, medical costs, cable TV, a private phone line, clothing, vacations, community activities, and burial reserve account deposits are budgeted out of the remainder of a resident’s income.
How is Social Security or disability income managed?
For the majority of individuals, the Residential Director assumes Representative Payee responsibility. Individuals who are able to handle their own finances can become their own payee. Occasionally, a person’s family becomes the Representative Payee. In these situations, a family member is responsible for paying a resident’s room and board each month and allocates funds for monthly bills and spending, including community activities, clothing, burial reserve account deposits, and vacations. Please note that the total benefit funds received for an individual each year would need to equal the amount dispersed.
Volunteering: Does your department have volunteers?
The Residential Services department does not use volunteers. However, there are other volunteer options throughout UCP. If you are interested, complete the volunteer form.