News

COVID-19 Response

March 13, 2020 at 10:23 pm

At UCP, we take the health and safety of the people we support and our employees extremely seriously, so a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 outbreak is currently our top priority. We are constantly reviewing guidance from the CDC and other public health experts on the most effective ways to remain safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Using that information along with internal conversations with key team members, we’ve implemented a flexible, comprehensive response for all employees on preventing community spread of this contagious virus.

In the event the virus spreads in or near communities where UCP operates, we are fully prepared to make changes to the way we manage our response. This page will be updated as the situation changes.


May 8, 2020

At UCP of Georgia, our administrative work is continuing on an entirely remote basis. While those of us who work in the Chamblee office are missing the positive team spirit we typically experience from being together, those who continue to work in homes have worked hard to adapt and protect the health and safety of the people we support and all employees throughout the pandemic. It has been an enormous adjustment, for sure!

Here are this week’s notable updates:

  • Our administrative office and day programs will remain closed at least through June 12 in accordance with Governor Kemp’s order for people who are medically fragile to continue sheltering. Team leadership meetings happen several times weekly, and we will continue to monitor the situation and update as we move closer to mid June.
  • We’re delighted to share that UCP of Georgia’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan application was approved and funded this week. This is a federal COVID-19 package used to fund payroll costs, and thanks to the approval, we are able to fund a temporary pay increase (8 weeks) for all employees. The time limit is imposed by the terms of the loan, but we’re very pleased we are able to award this additional money to all employees who are working in extraordinarily difficult circumstances right now. 
  • This week, we took our very first steps toward developing a comprehensive reopening plan for Day Programs. While we do not yet have a set date or know what reopening will look like, we are researching best practice guidance from CDC, DPH, and from I/DD providers across the country. We will update on this process as we move through it.
  • As the pandemic lingers, UCP of Georgia continues to incur extra expenses for things like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), additional cleaning supplies, and additional staffing costs. By donating today, you are making an immediate difference by defraying some of these unbudgeted expenses. Please reach out to Anne Rhodes for more details. It’s going to take a collective effort to maintain our strong level of quality supports in these uncertain times.

We know these times are extremely difficult for you, too. Please know we at UCP of Georgia are always available to answer questions and talk through any concerns you may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out.


April 24, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to touch every aspect of our lives, UCP of Georgia has thus far been very fortunate to keep moving forward. Our senior leadership and administrative teams have adjusted very well – fairly early on – to working remotely. Our program teams, including a remarkably strong workforce of Direct Support Professionals, are fiercely dedicated to our mission to positively support and impact the achievement of a Life Without Limits for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re convinced this commitment is exactly why UCP of Georgia has managed to maintain extraordinarily low rates of COVID-19 infection.

Still, managing teams that are spread out and all dealing with these new fears and learning curves has its challenges. We aim to keep lifting everyone up so we can overcome them together. To that end, here are some recent operational updates:

  • We recognize that Governor Kemp has allowed certain businesses to reopen. However, UCP of Georgia will continue to keep day programs and administrative offices closed until and unless there is a two-week demonstrated decline in statewide COVID-19 cases, per federal guidelines. We continue to closely monitor Department of Public Health data and work toward rolling out a reopening plan when we deem it is safe.
  • We are asking all employees to continue safe social distancing practices, good hand hygiene, and frequent cleaning/disinfecting of surfaces, regardless of the state’s decision to reopen some businesses. Consistent adherence to these practices has kept us safe so far, and we aim to continue diligently.
  • Just like you, everyone that UCP of Georgia supports is eligible for COVID-19 stimulus money from the federal government. We are working carefully to ensure we follow the ever-changing government processes necessary for the people we support to receive their stimulus funds. This is ongoing work that we hope is resolved very soon.
  • As the pandemic lingers, UCP of Georgia continues to incur extra expenses for things like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), additional cleaning supplies, and additional staffing costs. By donating today, you are making an immediate difference by defraying some of these unbudgeted expenses. Please reach out to Anne Rhodes for more details. It’s going to take a collective effort to maintain our strong level of quality supports in these uncertain times.

Stay tuned as we continue to weather this storm together with commitment and resolve.


April 11, 2020

At UCP, we are settling into the temporary new normal of work operations in support of the prevention of community spread of COVID-19. As we all move through this together, here are some recent updates:

  • While Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been challenging to acquire, we have built a supply to aid us in maintaining health and safety. We aim to store the PPE items used for the care of an actively ill person (respiratory masks, gowns, bonnets) and will only use them if we experience a localized outbreak. Otherwise, cloth face coverings and disposable surgical masks are being distributed now to all home locations in accordance with the CDC’s most recent guidance.
  • Our leadership team continues to meet (virtually) several times weekly to review the most current CDC recommendations and implement plan changes as needed.
  • Direct Support Professionals are working hard every single day in support of our mission. Their strength and resilience in a time of such uncertainty is awe inspiring. In addition to their normal job duties, they are working hard with other program teams to facilitate video chats and extra phone calls between those we support and their friends and family while in-person visits are suspended.
  • Our human resources team continues to recruit, hire, and train new team members all while shifting in-person encounters to safely distanced, protected conditions.
  • Next week, we will be testing a new format for live online Question and Answer sessions with a panel of senior UCP leaders to facilitate real time communication.

We remain eternally grateful for your support of UCP of Georgia. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.


April 1, 2020

We at UCP hope you and your loved ones have been staying safe as the COVID-19 virus has increasingly altered the way we live and work. Today’s updates follow:

Administrative office and day programs will remain closed through April 30, 2020, in accordance with new federal social distancing guidelines. As we approach that date, we will announce plans for either reopening or extending closure as the situation warrants. Our administrative team remains fully capable while working remotely, and will continue managing regular operations in April as they’ve done for the past two weeks. 

From a broader perspective, UCP remains in close communication with the state authorities that govern our work to ensure the health and safety of the people we support. We are working hard to secure access to all applicable COVID-19 relief initiatives available via the newly signed CARES Act, Medicaid funding, and other systems. 

On the day-to-day operations front, the best Direct Support Professionals around continue to work tirelessly in support of our mission. Like all organizations in the country, we are finding it challenging to maintain supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves. The same is true for household cleaning supplies and toilet tissue. We are very appreciative to those who have reached out to donated supplies and funds. If you’d like to join that effort, please contact Anne Rhodes to find out how.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out via our Contact Us page with questions. We are focused on our mission and our communities as we work through these challenges together.


March 27, 2020

As we continue to navigate the uncharted territory of this COVID-19 outbreak, our resourcefulness and resolve have been tested. But we’re proud to report that UCP of Georgia is operating strongly after a swift transition to a different way of working in this new landscape. While day programs remain closed and administrative teams continue to work from their own homes, the daily work of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities continues to flourish in different and uplifting ways. Special thanks, as always, to the Direct Support Professionals who are steadfast in their commitment to maintaining meaningful connections to the people we support!

Here are this week’s updates:

  • As of this writing, there are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 for those supported in our homes or on staff.
  • We continue to actively screen employees for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms before beginning work each shift, to ensure their safety and the safety of the people we support.
  • One recent challenge is maintaining a stock of supplies for homes. Our regular commercial vendors do not have items in stock that we usually order for routine operations. If you have access to any of the following items and would like to donate them, please contact Anne Rhodes to arrange drop off or pick up. Right now, we are seeking:
    • Toilet paper
    • Household disinfectant cleaners
    • Disposable ear thermometer covers
    • Cash donations to offset the cost of additional supplies

Even though some of our UCP family are now distanced from colleagues, we are staying in touch and leaning on each other for strength through this crisis. We will get through this, there is no doubt. In such challenging times, our work to serve the mission of UCP of Georgia becomes even more crucial.


March 20, 2020

UCP of Georgia operations remain strong, thanks to our extraordinary team which is steadfastly dedicated to our mission. Direct Support Professionals, in particular, are the backbone of our organization, and their perseverance and hard work is why we are doing so well. Here are the most recent updates:

  • As of this writing, there are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 for those supported in our homes or on staff.
  • The main office in Chamblee, and statewide day programs will remain closed at least until March 31. We will reassess as that date approaches and make a decision on reopening at that time.
  • Employees are being actively screened for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms before beginning work each shift, to ensure their safety and the safety of the people we support.
  • We continue to recruit and interview candidates to fill current vacancies and ensure our workforce remains strong.
  • In-person training is only being conducted for critical new-hire topics so that new hires can begin work, and only in groups of fewer than 10 people with appropriate social distancing measures in place.

March 13, 2020

Public health organizations have made it clear that we can take preventive steps now to slow community spread. While there are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases at UCP, here are some of the proactive steps we are taking:

  • On March 16, 2020, the UCP of Georgia administrative office in Chamblee will close, but agency operations will continue. Administrative staff will be actively working remotely from home, and community living support services in UCP homes will continue (with alternate staff schedules in some cases). We will reassess in weekly increments to determine when it is safe to reopen.
  • On March 16, 2020, all UCP Day Programs in Georgia will close. We will reassess in weekly increments to determine when it is safe to reopen.
  • We are monitoring the wellness of the people we support in community living situations very closely, including identification of those whom the CDC deems at high risk due to age or existing medical condition. We have temporarily ceased travel and community activities for everyone we support, and are strictly limiting visitors in order to minimize risk of infection.
  • We have implemented a new cleaning protocol in addition to our daily cleaning regimen which includes frequent disinfecting of shared surfaces and frequently touched surfaces (such as light switches, door handles, faucets, etc.) in all UCP homes.
  • We are reemphasizing the importance of observing Universal Precautions and frequent, thorough hand washing to staff and those we support.
  • We are closely tracking incidences of employee illness to confirm they have access to care and will remain away from work until they are well.

Resources

In addition to our internal response, we urge you to stay updated on the progression of the COVID-19 in Georgia and its impact on people with disabilities:


How Can You Help?

UCP of Georgia is a lifeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As we prepare to cover extra staffing, extra food, extra medication, and other supplies to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we ask that you consider donating to help us sustain quality support of those who rely on us.


Questions or Concerns

We are grateful for the continued support of our communities. Please do reach out if you have specific questions about our COVID-19 response.


Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March 13, 2020 at 2:22 pm

Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) partners with Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) to create a campaign that highlights the ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life. It aims to bring awareness to the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live.

United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia is proud to support this annual awareness effort as we continue our work to positively impact a Life Without Limits for people with disabilities. Learn more about #DDawarenessmonth2020 by following our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.


It’s #GivingTuesday at UCP of Georgia

November 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

This #GivingTuesday, UCP of Georgia is joining in a global day of giving to celebrate generosity worldwide. After Thanksgiving and shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday takes place on November 27th. The day will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to give back.

Today, we at UCP of Georgia are proud to join #GivingTuesday because we aim to support our mission to positively support and impact the achievement of a Life Without Limits for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every donation or gift of time furthers our mission – regardless of the amount.

In 2012, the 92nd Street Y founded #GivingTuesday and inspired millions to give back and support causes they believe in. Over $300 million was raised to benefit a broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

Join UCP of Georgia’s #GivingTuesday celebration at our Georgia Gives page. For more on the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website or follow the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.


Bonus for Signing as a New DSP

August 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Image of UCP of Georgia and Top Workplaces logos for signing bonusIn order to sustain top talent, UCP of Georgia is proud to announce a new signing bonus plan. Direct Support Professionals (DSP) hired by UCP of Georgia are now eligible to receive a signing bonus of $800.

Details:

  • A signing bonus of $800 will be offered to newly hired DSPs in either day programs or residential homes.
  • The bonus will be paid in two installments of $400. Payments are made following the 90th and 180th days of employment. Payments are made on regularly scheduled pay dates.

Conditions for receiving bonus:

  1. DSP successfully passes a 90-day probationary period. If probationary period is extended, the first payment will be paid on next pay period after probation ends.
  2. DSP has no disciplinary action beyond a verbal coaching on file during the first 6 months of employment.
  3. All training must be completed by required date(s).
  4. Rehires qualify if they have not worked with UCP within the past 12 months.

More things to note: The signing bonus is taxable. All regular payroll taxes will be withheld. If employee voluntarily leaves UCP within 12 months of hire date, s/he is responsible for reimbursing the entire signing bonus.

Since 1965, UCP of Georgia has been a leader in supporting people with all types of disabilities. Learn more about our mission and work in Georgia. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see how DSPs are a key part of living our mission.

Our starting rate for DSP positions is $11/hour. Visit our Career Center now to view and apply for open Direct Support Professional positions!