2013 The Case For Inclusion Summary

The following summary comes from United Cerebral Palsy and their annual study of the special needs programs and resources available across the country. For more information and access to the entire study, visit www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2013.
The United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) The Case For Inclusion 2013 report is the broadest and most interesting national study of special needs services we have found. They have been publishing similar reports annually since 2006 and have used the same ranking methodology since 2007. The major areas of evaluation used to calculate the rankings include promoting independence, tracking community involvement and safety, keeping families together, promoting productivity, and reaching those in need of services.
The 2013 study identifies a few positive changes while issuing an overall somber assessment of the services being provided on a national basis to individuals with special needs. While we encourage readers to review the study in more detail, we did want to highlight the major findings.


The positive findings include:

  • 13 states have no large state institutions secluding those with disabilities – another 10 states have only one. (Illinois is making progress but still has a few.)
  • The number of states serving at least 80% of their ID/DD population and dedicating 80% or more of their spending on community-based services has grown from 14 to 38 states since 2007.
  • The majority of states (34) participate in a national quality assurance program called the National Core Indicators which is an increase from less than half in 2007. (Illinois is a participating state.)


Among the disappointments illustrated in the results:

  • Since 2007, the number of people nationally on waiting lists for services has more than doubled to 268,000. (Illinois represents close to 10% of the total)
  • The number of states that have at least one-third of their individuals with ID/DD working in competitive employment situations has dropped from 17 in 2007 to just 10. (Illinois ranks 44th at just 12%)
  • Since 2007, when UCP began issuing their composite state rankings, four states: Arkansas (#50), Illinois (#48), Mississippi (#51), and Texas (#49) have consistently ranked at the bottom.

While moving your family or your adult family member with a disability to a state with better resources and more comprehensive services may not be practical, the following tables highlight the UCP composite rankings of the states.

The Five Best States

  1. Arizona
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Oregon
  4. Vermont
  5. California

Largest 5-Year Ranking Increase

  1. Ohio (48th to 22nd)
  2. Louisiana (44th to 21st)
  3. Maryland (33rd to 15th)
  4. Oregon (21st to 3rd)
  5. Pennsylvania (29th to 11th)

The Five Worst States

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Texas
  4. Illinois
  5. Virginia

Largest 5-Year Ranking Decrease

  1. Alaska (2nd to 31st)
  2. Colorado (8th to 32nd)
  3. New Jersey (23rd to 42nd)
  4. Kansas (22nd to 41st)
  5. Minnesota (7th to 25th)
There appears to be no common list of characteristics among the states that rank among the best or the worst; the populations, political leanings, and state tax rates all vary significantly. Although it may only be coincidental, with the exception of Michigan, there are no top ranking states anywhere in center of the country or in the Southeast. Almost all of the top ranking states are located on the West Coast or in the North East.
This information is summarized from a research report published by United Cerebral Palsy. Their report is based primarily on 2011 data which was the most current credible data at the time the study was compiled. Their annual studies for all prior years dating back to their initial study in 2006 can be found on their website. For more information about UCP or their The Case For Inclusion study, please contact them at info@ucp.org or by phone at (800) 872-5827. For information about how you can modify your planning in light of the results in the UCP study, please contact Oak Wealth Advisors at (847) 945-8884 or info@oakwealth.com.