Exceptional Parents Unlimited of Fresno
In 1976, Exceptional Parents Unlimited (EPU) was hatched as a small support group for parents. Today, the organization serves up to 800 children and family members each week, and employs more than 100 therapists, early childhood specialists, parents, care coordinators and support personnel.
“We work to strengthen and empower children and families facing extraordinary medical, developmental, and parenting challenges,” says Marion Karian, EPUS’s Executive Director. Among EPU’s programs are the Family Voices Resource Center, the Early Start Program, and the Assessment Center for Children, which is part of Fresno County’s SMART model of care.
The SMART model is an early screening and referral system used by multiple agencies and health care providers in Fresno County.
In November 2012, EPU received a $50,000, 18-month grant from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to expand this program to include a care coordination team within the SMART model to provide a concentrated level of care coordination for the most medically complex children. Along with supporting expansion of the program, the grant will enable EPU to participate in a newly established learning collaborative. This collaborative will bring together half a dozen care coordination programs around the state to share information about their experiences in developing best practices.
“This expansion will allow us to serve families of children with special health care needs by ensuring timely care and follow-up,” Karian said. “It also will allow us to shoulder some of the burden on families struggling with coordinating care for their child.”