The COVID-19 pandemic created an immediate disruption to the delivery of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s (CPA) Early Response Therapy Program, leaving a large number of at-risk babies in the Central West Region unable to receive life changing treatment and support.
A funding commitment of almost $70,000 from Greater Charitable Foundation has allowed CPA to now provide early response therapy to clients through the Telepractice service. This is in addition to just over $250,000 the Foundation committed to the program in 2019.
CPA’s Early Response Therapy Program provides services for babies at-risk of developing cerebral palsy at a pivotal point in their development, which can reduce the severity and impact of disability for each child.
According to Jo Ford, CPA’s General Manager for Early Childhood Early Intervention and Therapy Services, online services are the only safe and effective way to deliver this crucial therapy during these challenging times.
“With the current pandemic and physical distancing impacting the country, it is critical that we still provide vital therapy and support to babies at risk of cerebral palsy through our early intervention program,” said Ms Ford.
“The additional funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation will enable us to assess babies located in Dubbo and Orange from the safety of their homes. This will continue to ensure these interventions are being provided, as soon as possible, to support these babies and their families at this critical time.
“Changing the delivery of our program to online has taken an incredible amount and wouldn’t have been possible without the increased financial support from Greater Charitable Foundation. We are very appreciative of our ongoing partnership with the Foundation, which is making a huge impact on the lives of many families,” Ms Ford said.
In addition to the roll-out of the Telepractice services, CPA will also use the funding to purchase new assessment kits which will be used remotely to assess an at-risk baby’s cognitive skills, language, swallowing and feeding, fine and gross motor, social-emotional and adaptive development.
CPA is also creating an online playgroup for families to connect with one another while also receiving additional support and guidance from therapists while at home.
Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Anne Long, said that while the COVID-19 crisis caused significant challenges for the Foundation and its partners, it has been inspiring to see how charities like CPA have re-focused their business to ensure they continue to serve their communities.
“The immediate impact of COVID-19 on the majority of our partners such as CPA was significant. Given the importance of face-to-face assessments in diagnosing cerebral palsy, social distancing restrictions forced CPA to rethink the delivery of their program,” Ms Long said.
“As a result, it became more important than ever for us to reaffirm our support and commitment to CPA and work closely with them to deliver these critically important services.
“We are incredibly proud of the work CPA has done in a short amount of time to evolve their businesses and maintain their focus on continuing to provide much needed support to the families of at-risk babies,” Ms Long said.
Ms Long said the Foundation’s next community funding round will take place in the first half of 2021, as they celebrate 10 years of giving.
As part of its amended 2020-funding program, which was postponed due to the global COVID pandemic, the Foundation committed an additional $500,000 in funding to six of its existing charity partners.
Greater Charitable Foundation has now provided more than $9.5m to 31 community partners since its inception in 2011.