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EPU History

One Call for Kids

Once upon a time there lived a group of parents with exceptional children. It came to light that these parents needed support in helping them meet the challenges and needs of their children, and so, Exceptional Parents Unlimited (EPU) was born.

Founded in 1976 by Marion M. Karian, EPU started as a support group for the parents of children with Down’s syndrome. The name Exceptional Parents Unlimited was chosen because EPU wanted to provide services for the parents of children with all kinds of special needs. The concerns and efforts of these parents became EPU’s foundation.


Over the years EPU developed a wide range of programs and services in response to the expressed needs of the families in our community. Today, known as the EPU Children’s Center, over 4,000 children and families are served each year, and has an annual budget of $6.8 million. EPU has become a national leader in providing and promoting comprehensive, family-centered services through five major EPU programs


More than 3,000 families receive direct services each year in English, Spanish, Hmong and American Sign Language. These services are available through home visits and our urban and rural centers.


EPU’s Family Resource Center provides training and support to families through the (Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) Grant and Family Empowerment Center (FEC) Grant.


Since EPU began in 1976, it has grown to a staff of more than 100 therapists and early childhood specialists. This staff includes experienced management personnel, including a Chief Financial Officer who is a Certified Public Accountant, a Human Resources Director, a Development Director, a Director of Evaluation and Data, and five other program managers.