UCP uses the whole family approach to services by providing tools to make dreams a reality.
The role of UCP’s Family Support Center is to educate and promote the empowerment of children and adults with disabilities and their families so that they may be better prepared to negotiate life’s challenges while realizing the dreams, lifestyle choices, and full potential of their family members with disabilities. We’re here each step of the way for families — providing a continuum of care at all stages and ages of life with programming for children, adults and seniors. Anyone is welcome to visit and utilize our Family Support Centers located in Pittsfield and North Adams, MA. Our locations are listed at the bottom of this page.
Our People. Our Expertise.
UCP’s Family Support staff have deep experience and knowledge. They offer guidance in areas such as housing assistance, benefit determination, mentoring, educational advocacy and transportation. UCP also offers assistive technology and durable medical equipment evaluations and referrals, for people who may need them, across all of our programming.
- Jennifer Summers is our Senior Director of Program Operations: With over 20 year’s experience in human services and education, she oversees programming and training.
- Emily Shoestock is Director of Family Support: She has 10 years of family support experience as an expert community navigator.
- Martha Lewin, Pioneer Valley Program Manager: Martha has supported families for 20+ years and is a skilled advocate.
- Leslie Kinney has 35 years experience administering disability services and provides consultative assistance.
- William Swann, LISCW has 29 years of experience dealing with mental health and disabilities.
- Dr. Quinn Austin-Small, PhD Clinical Psychologist has 25 years of experience in mental health, residential, and developmental programs, providing crisis clinical evaluations and serving persons with dual diagnosis (mental illness and ID/DD or autism).
Setting a high-quality standard.
Our approach to quality assurance starts by providing responsive and individually tailored services so that each individual, regardless of disability, is able to pursue a fulfilling, self-determined, high-quality community life — a life without limits. UCP successfully completed the comprehensive family focused accreditation process with the Council on Accreditation. This assures the agency follows the best practices when it comes to the quality of our care.
UCP has a strong history of developing community connections. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, UCP has been asked to be part of the community’s emergency response program offering PPE to vulnerable persons and families within our community. COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the world to be digitally connected. UCP is helping the helpers — their agency partners and providers alike to ensure connectivity through technology, which is now a necessity for many populations.
The Centers are open daily: Monday — Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM. We are also open for scheduled, weekend and evening activities which include: training, recreational and entertainment events, field trips and fun.
Connection: We maintain connections through mail, email, text, phone calls, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or Doxy.me, trainings, workshops, social events, conferences and resources.
Transportation: For activities and events, we arrange for transportation as needed including pick-up and drop-off from/to home or a location requested by the family.
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The schedule has been adjusted due to the pandemic but typically each month is full of a rich array of opportunities:
- Community events with trips to a wide array of venues including local parks, recreational centers, sports arenas, YMCA, museums, farms and orchards, colleges and universities, theaters, mini-golf courses, restaurants, and planetariums. Most months include 8 – 12 community-based activities as stand-alone events or part of group activities noted below.
- Monthly Drop-In Center, Women’s Group, Men’s Group, Teen Group and Self-Advocacy.
- Weekly events such as Chess Club and Free Swim coordinated with Autism Connections.
- Daily Events including after school Social Happenings which are held M-F, 2:30 – 5 PM.
- Short-term groups such as Community Access to the Arts which is held 2-3 times a year for 8-week sessions and a Virtual Reality series to teach social skills.