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In 1976 a nurse named Whitney and a mother named Mary decided to work with families in the obstetrical and pediatric areas. Specially with families whose babies has serious medical or generic difficulties.
Mary had a daughter, Sonia. Shortly after birth, Sonia was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Mary was devastated. She share with Whitney her feelings and fears, but Whitney as a nurse felt helpless. Whitney provided Mary with information about Down Syndrome, but she knew that she had to do more. After some days Whitney received a phone call from Mary. She was crying and asking for help. She did not what to do with her daughter.
EPU was formed based on Mary’s question “ what do other mother do ?” With this question, a support group was formed which brought together mothers of children with Down Syndrome. They began sharing their joys and sorrows and began to learn from each other all those experiences of parenting a child with disability. EPU began.
Since its founding in 1976, EPU has developed a wide range of programs to meet the needs of at-risk families in the Central Valley. Their goal is to help children grow up in healthy, supportive families in which their individual needs are met. EPU understands the necessity of parents having confidence in themselves and their ability to meet the challenges of raising a family .
Our vision is that children grow up in families in which their individual needs are met; their parents have confidence in themselves and their ability to meet the needs of all family members and have a sense of comfort with their personal situations that brings forth an internal sense of empowerment.
Safety : We believe that the physical and emotional well-being children, families and staff are assured by creating and maintain a safe, nurturing and supportive environment and providing a “safety net” for families.
Respec t: We believe that individuality; confidentiality and diversity of children families and staff are assured through honesty, acceptance of differences and the protection of personal dignity.
Compassion : We believe that children, families and staff can be supported and empowered through maintaining our tradition of empathy and caring.
Quality : We believe that providing programs and services of the highest quality is dependent upon hiring and retaining qualified staff , providing education to staff and families, implementing best practices, and creating collaborative relationships with families.
Growth : we believe that all children, families and staff thrive with individualized opportunities to learn and grow in ways that are responsive to their strengths and needs.
“ When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when we dream together it is the beginning of a reality”
1. Family Resource center : Is staffed exclusively by parents and family members of children with disabilities. Approximately 130 parent groups are offered every month.
2.Infant Family Program : Focus on the needs of the entire family, centered on the developmental needs of the family.
3.Learning about Parenting : is a comprehensive, culturally responsive program that utilizes a multi- disciplinary team approach to provide family-centered services to overburdened families
4.Play and Grow: Play and Grow enrichment groups help children to socialize with peers and build relationships
5. Assessment center for Children (ACC ) : The Assessment Center for Children at Exceptional Parents Unlimited (EPU) assesses children whose parents/caregivers have multiple concerns about their child's learning, development, and/or behavior. The center is staffed by medical, mental health, and other professionals from several different agencies. Staff from these agencies is located at EPU and can offer Fresno County children, birth through 5 years of age, and their families, more comprehensive assessment services in one location. The ACC was developed through a formal partnership between First 5 Fresno County and Fresno Community Health . *Children Services Coordinator (CSC): Establish ongoing supportive relationship with families. Support through ACC assessment process, provides case management , link families to services, and help families to complete forms. *ACC- One call for Kids : Direct families and professionals to services that support health, growth and development of the child. *Family Resource Specialist : Parenting advocacy, parent rights and advocacy training, Support groups and Peer parent support.
Services Provided Children and Families During 1/05 to 4/1/10 over 2100 children assessed ; over 949 families served in other ways ( case management, education, classes, etc). During 2/06 -4/1/10 over 6000 One call for kids calls / contacts. During 7/06/- 4/01/10 over 250 / families received treatment.
Referral - Demographics Ethnicity Hispanic-43 % Caucasian 15% Other: 42% Primary Language English – 78 % Spanish – 20 % Sex Male – 73 % Spanish 27 % Age 0 to 3 years- 38 % 3 to 6 years- 62 %