UCP Applauds the Decision to Release Rosa Maria Hernandez into the Custody of Her Family

UCP applauds the decision from the Department of Health and Human Services to release Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10 year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy held in federal custody by immigration authorities, to her family on November 4th. Rosa Maria was stopped at border checkpoint on her way to emergency gallbladder surgery on October 24th in Corpus Christi, TX. She was then held in custody at the Office of Refugee Resettlement in a facility for children in San Antonio, TX. Rosa Maria was brought to the United States at 3 months old by her parents, and has remained in their care since. According to news reports, Rosa Maria was released on Friday into the custody of her parents. Her release comes after a lawsuit lead by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the U.S. government to have her reunited with her family.

For people with disabilities and their families, having access to medical care and support networks, especially in the case of complex medical needs is vital. We are happy and thankful to know that Rosa Maria can be with her family to heal, recover, and get the care that she needs.

UCP Expresses Concern On The Detainment of Rosa Maria Hernandez




For Inquires: Kaitlyn Meuser, kmeuser@ucp.org, (202)-973-7185

Armando Contreras, President and CEO, acontreras@ucp.org

Washington, D.C. (October 27, 2017) — United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) would like to express substantial concerns about the condition and treatment of Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy, who was detained by federal immigration authorities on the way to emergency gall bladder surgery in Corpus Christi, Texas. After discharge from the hospital, authorities placed her in a facility for undocumented children in San Antonio. Various news outlets note that her doctors have recommended that she be released to family members who can care for her.

We strongly urge authorities to allow this young girl with Cerebral Palsy to be with her family and receive needed care so that she can fully recover from her surgery. Children with disabilities are among society’s most vulnerable and often have challenging health care and social support needs. UCP believes in providing those children with appropriate and high-quality care to address emergencies, help manage complex conditions and ongoing needs, and ensure a positive quality of life – a “life without limits.”

In this case, immigration-related issues have presented barriers to the child’s care, and we hope that authorities find a way to ensure she does not remain separated from her family and with compromised access to health care needed for her recovery.  Furthermore, as policymakers in Congress and the Administration consider approaches to address immigration-related issues, including those related to the immigration status of children, we urge them to take into account the complex health care needs of special needs children like Rosa Maria and the potential situations like this one that could arise.

Through our nearly 70-member strong affiliate network across the United States and Canada, UCP’s affiliates help to provide a variety of services and supports to people with disabilities and their families who come from a wide range of backgrounds and communities.


About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 70 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

Share Your Video for World CP Day!

“What do you want the world to know about CP?”

In honor of World CP Day 2017, UCP wants you to tell the world what you want to know about Cerebral Palsy (CP)! All you have to do is send us a short (less than a minute) video telling us what you’d like the world to know about CP and your video could be featured as part of video celebrating World CP Day on October 6th. 


For questions, and to submit your video, please email UCP National’s Marketing Specialist, Kaitlyn Meuser at kmeuser@ucp.org. 

From Pain To Passion: One Parent’s Roller Coaster Journey

IMG_143881634762405Stefanie Boggs-Johnson is owner of Stefanie Lynn Creations and published author of “I See You, Little Naomi.” In addition to being a parent and mobile cosmetologist, she is a crew supervisor for adults with special needs, working as the on-site job coach at a local grocery store. She also volunteers for Djanai’s Angels Special Needs Prom in North Hollywood.  She is currently training to facilitate beauty classes for American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better” program. She and her family live in Concord, California.



March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness month. For many families like mine, there is cerebral palsy (CP) awareness every hour and day.  As a mother of an in utero stroke survivor diagnosed with right hemiparesis CP, this “mama bear” ended up on a grief roller coaster ride that included the dark lows of despair and the heights of determination.

The story I share with you today is a result of the whirlwind of emotions, adjustments and new endeavors that swept up my family upon my daughter’s birth. And it is about the choices I made, which resulted in a new perception and passion for life.

I had no issues during my pregnancy with my daughter Naomi, who is now six years old. No one saw any signs of medical trauma until the day I went to the hospital to check on the baby in my womb, who was normally very active but had stopped moving. After an emergency c-section on March 18, 2009, Naomi immediately suffered from multiple seizures per hour due to a stroke at seven months gestation. She was not expected to survive.IMG_225861807037805

However, she did survive and is living proof that miracles do happen. She defied a grim diagnosis, eventually achieving each developmental milestone, and causing a ripple effect of new priorities, joy and choices in many people’s lives– including mine.

I became a parent consumed with therapy and medical appointments, pharmacy and emergency room visits and tears.  As overwhelming as it all was for my entire family, I knew I had to maintain my sanity. The pain and despair that overwhelmed me at times could not stay! I had to do something! I had to turn my daughter’s trial into a testimony that would help others jump off their own personal roller coasters.

So, I took action to help other special needs families. I began by making hair accessories and other crafts. And, I returned to my lifelong passion of writing children’s books – about my daughter, of course. Then, in 2013, (at the age of 43!) I went to beauty school to become a mobile cosmetologist, jumping onto an entirely new roller coaster. As a mobile cosmetologist, I visit the homes of people with disabilities who may have difficulty going to a salon for a hair appointment or other grooming needs.

I’m now on an extraordinary path filled with priceless rewards, such as the multiple visits to the home of a tenderhearted teenage boy with autism, gaining his trust and eventually getting his permission to cut his hair. The round of high-fives with his parents was pure joy. This task, to which most others don’t give a second thought, was a real dilemma for this family. To be able to offer a service that relieved their burden made it all worth it!

As with anyone’s life path, mine has its bumps and bruises. But these are offset by meeting wonderful people, seeing the good that still exists in this world and knowing that I somehow added to that good. Sometimes, the circumstances of our lives aren’t what we originally ordered but they can turn into so many miracles. My hope is that all who read this will see the miracles in their lives, no matter what the day may bring. May the pain of letting go of old dreams turn into a passion for new dreams to come true!