Over a half-century ago, parents and grandparents from the Utica area were desperate to find a way to help children with Cerebral Palsy. The outlook for children with a developmental disability at that time was bleak since there were no programs or services to meet their needs. Through these families’ hope for a brighter future for their children, the agency was formed.
The idea for Upstate Cerebral Palsy of Utica, which is now an affiliate of Upstate Caring Partners, Inc., began in April of 1949 when three local community leaders Eiddon L. Jones, Maurice Sheehan and Harry Gosling met at Hotel Utica to discuss the need for an organization dedicated to children with cerebral palsy. Each founding member was truly dedicated to this cause as each had a child or grandchild with cerebral palsy and was desperate to find hope at a time when none was offered to them. They followed in the steps of parents across the country to form an organization that would change lives. Little did they know, it would change the lives of thousands of people in the years ahead.
In September of 1950, the first clinic officially opened its doors in Kernan School. At that time, there were five staff members who provided a combination of therapeutic and educational services to seven children. In the 1970’s the services continued to grow and in 1974 the New York State Department of Health licensed Upstate Cerebral Palsy as a diagnostic and treatment center.
The appointment of Louis Tehan as Executive Director in August 1979 marked the beginning of an unprecedented era of expansion for the agency. In 1982, Upstate Cerebral Palsy assumed operations for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oneida County. In 1983, Upstate Cerebral Palsy purchased its first building, which is the present day Barneveld Campus. Not only was Upstate Cerebral Palsy growing with buildings, but also in the services provided.
Upstate Cerebral Palsy of today has over 2,000 employees at over 80 locations and is an organization dedicated to “Empowering People Through Exceptional Opportunities." We have received several prestigious awards — awards that recognize the high quality of care Upstate Cerebral Palsy provides as well as praise for the sound business practices of the Agency.
From serving the first seven children with Cerebral Palsy in 1950 to the thousands of people it serves today, Upstate Cerebral Palsy has remained focused on its initial purpose; providing support to people with differing abilities. It has grown from a clinic for children with cerebral palsy into a comprehensive system of programs and services focused on meeting a variety of needs for people of all ages, empowering people through exceptional opportunities each day!