Our Mission & History
We believe that all people, regardless of ability, deserve to achieve their potential, advance their independence and act as full members of the community.
So we stop at nothing to provide life skills training, assistive technology, meaningful employment and a place to call home for people with disabilities. We place and support them in community jobs throughout the Greater Chicago area, including in our own social enterprises Seguin Auto Center and Seguin Garden and Gifts.
We ensure that adults with disabilities can live and socialize within their community, by offering residential services in multiple small, community-based homes. And we support their physical and mental well-being and vocational needs with training centers across the region.
We also give a home to children and adolescents, with nurturing foster care from birth to 21, including specialized care for children with behavior or medical challenges.
In addition, our specialized assistive technology and accessibility services allow us to serve more people, advancing independence and promoting inclusive opportunities for thousands of children and adults with disabilities. Infinitec, with its partners, provides invaluable information about assistive technology, as well as training, equipment and access to specialists and resources.
Our innovative programs leverage the latest technology, but the individuals we serve come first in everything we do.
Our goal: life without limits for people with disabilities.
In July 2013, Seguin Services Inc. merged with United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago (UCP Chicago) to become United Cerebral Palsy Seguin of Greater Chicago (UCP Seguin). UCP Seguin’s pioneering, innovative, and inclusive approach to services for persons with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities is apparent in our unique programs and services, and is evident throughout the history of both organizations.
Seguin Services Inc. took root in 1949 when a group of parents in the western suburbs of Chicago responded to the lack of public education and other models of care for persons with special needs. These intrepid parents began providing day school classes for their children in a church basement – the first pilot program for community-based special education in Illinois. From this early informal alliance evolved an organization, Mentally Retarded Children’s Aid, which transferred all programs and services to Seguin Services Inc. in the mid-1970s.
Founded in 1951, UCP Chicago first opened its doors to address the needs of children and adults with cerebral palsy, a mission that rapidly expanded to serve all people with physical and cognitive disabilities, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.
Incorporated in its present form in 1976, Seguin Services was among the first agencies in Illinois to redesign its residential programs to emphasize community integration and traditional home-life experiences by establishing its Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILA) group homes. Today, UCP Seguin provides supportive, family-like, home environments for 270 adults with disabilities living in 70 CILA group homes in 25 communities. UCP Seguin also provides in-home supportive services to 30 adults who choose to live independently in their own homes or in the homes of their families. UCP Seguin also offers respite services to families of 40 adults with disabilities, as well as palliative care for 24 seniors with disabilities who have the added challenges of dementia.
In the 1980s, Seguin Services became the first agency in Illinois to close its sheltered workshop and to establish community-inclusive employment and training programs. It also changed the focus of its Developmental/Life Skills Training Program to increase the range of job skills training and life skills required for inclusion in community work settings. Today, UCP Seguin's Community Employment Program supports adults with disabilities working in jobs in the community alongside their non-disabled peers. We also provide life skills and vocational skills training to adults with disabilities. Together these programs serve 450 adults with disabilities annually. Many of UCP Seguin’s participants contribute their skills to society by participating in community volunteer activities.
In 1994, Seguin Services began its Children’s Foster Care program to provide permanent, safe, and loving homes for abused and neglected children with disabilities and other special needs, from birth to college age. Seguin Services also facilitated adoption, reunification with the natural family, and permanent guardianship for these children. The organization was recognized as a Champion of Adoption by Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Today, more than 100 heroic, nurturing foster parents annually care for nearly 200 abused or neglected children with specialized medical needs, behavioral challenges, and other disabilities.
In 1995, UCP Chicago launched Infinitec, a multi-state initiative to promote opportunities for inclusion and independence for children and adults with disabilities through assistive technology, information and training, and access to equipment and specialists. Infinitec is truly a unique initiative – the only program of its kind in the state of Illinois. Since its inception Infinitec has established several regional coalitions among schools throughout the Greater Chicago area and beyond.
In 2001, Seguin Services created what is now called Seguin Enterprises – a social entrepreneurship and business venture program – that has already created jobs for hard-to-employ adults with severe disabilities. It has also provided us with new earned income sources to augment or replace eroding federal and state government funding. Individuals receive work opportunities through two core social enterprises: Seguin Auto Center, where individuals wash cars as well as process and prepare vehicle donations for re-sale; and, Seguin Gardens & Gifts, a full retail greenhouse and gift shop where persons with disabilities grow and care for plants as well as create, produce, and sell gift items. Through Seguin Gardens & Gifts also offers lawn-care services for residential and commercial customers. Seguin Enterprises recently established an e-Recycling program, working in concert with UCP Seguin’s ATEN program to collect, process, recycle and re-purpose electronics such as computers and other devices.
In 2009, Seguin Services established its Building Bridges to the Future Transition Program, now a collaboration of UCP Seguin – as the lead agency – and eight other partner agencies providing resources and training to over 1,400 students with disabilities, ages 14-21 and their families, to ensure their successful transition to adulthood. High school special education programs are no longer mandated to serve students with disabilities once they reach the age of 22 – as a result many students and their parents are faced with little or no services, and the adult child may wallow at home. Building Bridges addresses this issue head-on, supporting the parents and their children with disabilities in securing benefits and placement in adult services.
In 2010, Seguin Services began its CLIMB Program: Taking Steps Up the Ladder of Success, which empowers 20 DuPage County young adults with disabilities to “climb up the ladder of success” through life skills training, vocational skills training, and other therapeutic activities, enabling these young people to attain personal growth, employment, and enjoyment of life.
With the help of a $367,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities, UCP Chicago's Infinitec services were expanded in 2011 to reach students in two other states beyond Illinois. Infinitec now serves nearly 1,000 school districts that educate more than 1.7 million students throughout the Greater Chicago area, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
With the merger of Seguin Services and UCP Chicago in July 2013, UCP Seguin can more fully share competencies, expertise, and resources while achieving greater operational efficiencies and reduced costs. Most importantly, the new organization is well-positioned to provide more and better programs and services to help persons with disabilities.