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Your UCP: National October 11, 2003
Organizational Principles


The national organization and its network of state and local affiliates share a public trust and commitment to the mission:

    To affect positively the quality of life for persons with cerebral palsy and also others with severe disabilities and multiple service needs and the families of both; and to prevent cerebral palsy and minimize its effects.

ALL CHILDREN AND ADULTS with disabilities, including those with cerebral palsy, have fundamental rights to receive a public education that prepares them to function as independently as possible as adults in society and to equal opportunities to choose and to participate in lifestyles that enable them to live in and make contribution to their own communities. We believe that each child with a disability is entitled to the opportunity to live and grow within their family and that our advocacy and service efforts must be truly family-centered rather than focused exclusively on the individual.

WE PLEDGE that, during this decade, building on our commitment since our inception in 1949, we will recommit to this mission and these steps that will assist UCP's national office and its affiliates to translate these principles into action that can significantly improve the quality of life for people with cerebral palsy, those with similar disabilities and their families.

WE COMMIT to strengthening our advocacy and service efforts to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families by establishing and accepting outcome measures as true evaluation criteria of the effectiveness of our efforts. In addition, we commit to working together with people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities to assure their participation in decision-making at local, state and national levels during this next decade.


1. Be guided by the philosophy that persons with cerebral palsy have the right, the desire and the ability to shape their own destinies and therefore have the right and responsibility to be active decision-makers in the policy making, planning, service development and service evaluation of the UCP affiliates and other organizations that directly affect their lives.

2. On an individual, group, and organizational basis, actively work to remove the physical, architectural and communication barriers that exclude people with disabilities from full participation. We will decline to participate in any meeting, conference or professional gathering where the physical facility, because of its barriers, excludes persons with disabilities from attending and participating and, furthermore, we will formally protest any such meeting held by others.

3. Work to create competitive employment opportunities, including supported employment, for persons with cerebral palsy and others with severe disabilities. We are gravely concerned about the poverty and widespread unemployment and underemployment of persons with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. We pledge our individual and collective advocacy efforts to dramatically reduce the poverty and unemployment affecting persons with disabilities during the next decade by creating diverse employment options and the necessary complementary support services.

4. Continue to focus our energies and resources toward efforts to assure that every child and adult with a disability has the opportunity to live in a family or in a living arrangement of his or her choice. We will work vigorously to change attitudes and policies that permitted the warehousing of persons with disabilities in institutions, nursing homes and other unnecessarily restrictive facilities and programs.

5. Advocate for the development of family support options that provide families with choices for obtaining the resources and supports that will enable them to maintain a functioning family system that can nurture and provide for the needs of all family members including the family member with a disability.

6. Work with public officials to implement and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal policies at the local, state and national levels to assure full opportunities for early intervention, education, employment and integrated community living.

7. Effectively influence the passage of laws and the allocation of public and private resources at the local, state and national levels to enable persons with disabilities to become more productive, independent and integrated into community life.

8. Work vigilantly to develop and obtain assistive technology resources vital to the independence, education, and employment of persons with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

9. Exhort educational institutions to continue to expand educational opportunities for children with disabilities in integrated school settings and ensure that assistive technology and other related services are provided to support each student's learning needs.

10. Uphold the dignity of people with disabilities by condemning any condescending or maudlin portrayal of them by the media which perpetuates inappropriate stereotypes and discrimination and work to achieve portrayals that improve public understanding and attitudes about the individuality of persons with disabilities and each person's competency, strengths and contribution.

11. Promote personal health, home and public safety so as to prevent or reduce the occurrence, frequency and impact of disabling injuries, accidents, illnesses, and child abuse for the benefit of all people, including persons with disabilities.

12. Continue to support and pursue basic and applied research into the causes, prevention, treatment and amelioration of the effects of cerebral palsy.

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