Fast-Growing UCPSA Yuma Will Build New Office

The fast-growing Yuma branch of UCP of Southern Arizona (UCPSA) will build a new two-story building this year in the block of W. 8th Street where it opened a 6,000-square-foot office five years ago. The agency hopes to move by the end of this year or early 2024.

“We outgrew this one way too fast,” says Regional Director Lupita Cuestas, who has rented another location for one department and still has crowded offices.

The growth reflects the agency’s high regard in the community, where it recently won its first Yuma Sun Readers Choice Award for Special Needs Services in 2022.

“That award is mostly for the caregivers – how they go out there and care for each of their members,” Cuestas says. “It makes a world of differences. The community noticed and gave us this very coveted acknowledgment.”

Cuestas, who started working for UCPSA 20 years ago in its Tucson headquarters, was the only employee in Yuma when she opened the satellite office in 2008. Now the location has more than 350 employees serving more than 320 members.

“I arrived to Yuma in 2008 by my lonesome,” she recalls. “It was just me. We had no clients. It’s been a fun ride.”

She planned to bring music therapy to people in the area, but the onset of the Great Recession drove state budget cuts that eliminated the music therapist, so Cuestas started offering other services. Now, the office provides respite care for parents and foster parents, attendant care for the elderly, and support for people with disabilities in the workplace.

“We started with five families doing respite at the beginning,” she recalls. “Some of them were approved for attendant care. We were only doing those two services, mostly respite, for a couple of years and only for the Division of Developmental Disabilities. We didn’t have any other contracts or any other opportunities.

“People decided, ‘Let me give UCP a chance.’ We were able to earn their trust. It’s a privilege to be allowed in their home to support them and be part of their lives. We were able to gain some trust with people when we were new. I’m very grateful for that. “

For example, a UCPSA provider might work with a person with a disability whose grandmother needed help with personal needs. The family would prefer to deal with one agency, so UCPSA added services for the elderly.

“A couple of years ago, we found out that people in the foster care system could receive respite,” Cuestas says. “What drove us to do that was we learned there were a lot of disruptions, when they place a child with a foster family and due to various reasons the relationship doesn’t quite work, so the child has to be removed from that placement and placed into a different home. That can become a vicious cycle.”

When foster parents can get a break because of UCPSA respite care, the chance of avoiding disruptions increases. “We have prevented 13 disruptions by being able to show up and providing the much-needed services for the parents,” Cuestas says.

The office recently added UCPSA’s Workability program, which provides training, collaboration with employers, and on-site support to help people with disabilities succeed in competitive, integrated workplace employment. It placed two workers in the first two weeks of 2023.

Successful service drives the growth in Yuma, Cuestas says.

“Our caregivers and our families have been the ones to recommend us with others,” she says. “They will tell a neighbor or someone they know who needs the services. They’ll come and meet us and ask us questions and decide we will be a good match for them.”

UCPSA is an affiliate of national UCP Washington, which organized as United Cerebral Palsy in 1942 and now serves a vast range of people with disabilities, including autism, Alzheimer's, and those who are limited because of illness such as heart attack or stroke. The agency, with offices in Tucson, Yuma, and Green Valley, serves more than 1,000 people and has more than 1,000 mostly part-time employees.

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Located just north of the Craycroft and 5th Street intersection, on the northeast corner.

UCP of Southern Arizona
630 N. Craycroft Road
Tucson, AZ 85711-1450

Phone: 520.795.3108
Toll Free: 888.433.3629
On Call: 520.548.4969
Workability: 520.344.8250
FAX: 520.795.3196
Workability E-mail:

Green Valley

We have a regional office serving the cities south of Tucson (Sahuarita to Nogales).

UCP of Southern Arizona
1131 S. La Cañada Drive, Suite 105
Green Valley, AZ 85614

Office: 520.347.6950
On Call: 
FAX: 520.347.6917


We also provide services in Yuma!

UCP of Southern Arizona
333 W. 8th Street
Yuma, AZ 85364

Office: 928.259.7700
On Call: 
FAX: 928.259.7697

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