UCP OF Central Florida Steps Up To Save the BETA Center and its Heritage

BETA Center to merge into UCP — Plan will perpetuate their shared missions

 ORLANDO, Fla. – Friday, April 8, 2016 – Less than a week after announcing it would be closing its doors, BETA Center was given new life today by UCP of Central Florida, which has committed to absorbing the 44-year-old agency and blending its services into UCP’s.

After a progression of meetings, tours and discussion by boards and leadership staff from both agencies over the past week, a Memorandum of Intent has been signed by both agencies, formalizing the commitment.  Many details and legal issues still need to be worked out over the months ahead, but this agreement essentially means some services provided by BETA Center will continue under the auspices of UCP.

“I said I believe in miracles, magic and leprechauns and today UCP proved that optimism is never a bad thing,” said BETA’s Interim Executive Director Barbara Wetzler. “UCP reached out and demonstrated remarkable insight and compassion and then stepped up to the plate. This is an amazing turn of events.”

UCP leadership says BETA’s mission aligns with UCP and bringing them into the fold will enhance their holistic approach to helping children and families.

“We see this as a continuation of our mission to empower every child, including those with and without disabilities, to reach their full potential.  We will also use this opportunity to expand early prevention services, which are critical,” said Dr. Ilene Wilkins, President and CEO of UCP.  “UCPs unique education approach, combined with the support and therapy services provided to each of our students and families, creates a learning environment that unlocks the potential for students of all backgrounds and abilities.  That culture of acceptance aligns beautifully with the history of BETA.”

BETA leadership announced last week that, after more than 40 years of providing safe haven and parenting training and education for teen mothers, it would be closing in June due to funding issues.

“We cannot be happier or more grateful about this decision,” said BETA Board Chairman Robert Simmonds. “BETA’s heritage of helping thousands of young women get a new start in life matters and now it will be preserved. This is a great day.”

UCP has been making a difference in Central Florida for over 60 years.  In the past decade it has evolved from its original focus on assisting children with cerebral palsy to a much broader mission of serving at risk children with a variety of disabilities and delays as well as children without disabilities.   They provide a broad system of services, including PreK – 12th grade charter schools; physical, occupational and speech therapy; and family support programs.

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