This section describes the University of Missouri-Kansas City University Center for Excellence (UMKC- UCEDD) and its goals with respect to the needs of Missourians with developmental disabilities and their families. Information includes a description of guiding mission and values; and a historical review in the context of core functions.
To respond effectively to the needs of Missouri’s citizens with DD and their families, the UMKC-UCEDD has adopted the following mission statement:
The overall mission of the UMKC-UCE is to improve the quality of life for persons with developmental disabilities across the entire life span by promoting: (a) community inclusion, community membership, self-determination, independence, productivity, and social participation; and (b) high quality and effective community based services and individualized supports for persons with developmental disabilities and their families.
The operation of the UMKC-UCEDD is guided by a number of basic beliefs reflected in the following values:
Health and Wellness promotion are cost effective and preferred interventions. Accommodations and adaptations made in community settings are also preferred over interventions that solely require the individual with disabilities to change in order to participate in community life.
Individualized supports demonstrating an unconditional commitment to promotion of community inclusion are preferred to models that seek to limit inclusion by making such opportunities conditional.
Reliance on personal preferences and self-determined choices of individuals with disabilities and families are preferred over exclusive reliance on professional judgment as the basis for such determinations.
The development and utilization of supports that naturally occur in community settings are preferred over the development of specialized services or segregated models.
A primary focus will be to direct UMKC-UCEDD resources toward addressing needs of persons from unserved and underserved groups including urban and rural regions and cultural/ethnic groups. Also, persons with disabilities and their families will be included in all aspects of the UMKC-UCEDD operation.
The UMKC-UCEDD actively supports the teaching, research, and service mission of the University. The Institute for Human Development (IHD), and the centers and programs housed within it (including the UCE) function as a primary gateway between the University and the community.
The UMKC-UCEDD does not provide services and supports to individuals with disabilities directly, but rather promotes the inclusion and participation of persons with developmental disabilities in their local communities by improving the capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities. This is achieved through a research to practice framework that guides the work of the UMKC-UCEDD.