Exceptional Parents Unlimited

Daily Point of Light # 1249 Nov 17, 1998

Exceptional Parents Unlimited (EPU), a nonprofit organization, has been serving children with special needs and their families in Fresno County, CA for the past 22 years. Over this time, they have learned that many kinds of challenges can affect the growth and development of children. In order to address these challenges, EPU, open 8:30am – 5pm, Monday through Friday, with a staff of 50 employees, has developed comprehensive programs that help families become knowledgeable and empowered to meet the needs of all family members. In addition, they are supported by a core of about 300 regularly active volunteers who help enable the success of the many services provided by EPU, helping out wherever needed.

EPU's services fall under three main focus areas: early intervention for children with special needs; parent support, education and training; and child abuse prevention. EPU's services are provided free to families and are available in English, Spanish and Hmong. In addition to their urban center in Fresno City, EPU has two rural satellite offices that reach out to under-served populations. EPU has strived to develop programs that meet a great diversity of family needs and which address the geographic, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity of the Fresno community. They serve over 250 families per week.

Their Family Resource Center staff meets parents at the hospital, or at home, after the crisis of learning that their child has a disability of serious medical problem. The staff provides information, resource referral and coordination, support and training to parents. EPU's Infant Family Program provides therapeutic early intervention services to high-risk (drug-exposed) infants, and infants with disabilities, from 0-3 years of age. Services are provided by a team of highly trained professionals. The Learning About Parenting (LAP) program was established in 1992 to rebuild families when parents and children suffer the effects of drugs and alcohol. It was established in response to the increasing numbers of infants, being served in the program, who were exposed to drugs and alcohol prior to birth.

All of EPU's programs are run in collaboration with and support from the community. They work closely with all of their local hospitals, Departments of Social Services, Public Health Department and local school districts.