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Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health acquires local nonprofit to expand services for families living with autism/behavioral challenges

SPARCVillanova, PA – October 23, 2019 Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit providers of behavioral healthcare, announced the acquisition of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC), a nonprofit organization offering empirically-validated behavioral treatment programs for individuals with autism, as well as children, adolescents and adults with behavioral concerns or other developmental disabilities.

Established in 2007, SPARC provides clinic and community-based diagnostic, therapeutic and educational services, including behavioral therapy, feeding evaluations and treatment, early education programs, and social skills training. Based in West Chester, Pa., SPARC also offers educational and consultative services to parents, support groups, schools, community organizations and therapy/medical service providers. In addition, the nonprofit has a strong partnership with West Chester University (WCU) and serves as a teaching clinic for undergraduate and graduate students from WCU and other local universities.

“We are thrilled to welcome SPARC to the Devereux family,” said Devereux President and CEO Carl E. Clark II. “SPARC’s values and clinical strategies align strongly with Devereux’s 107-year-old organization, whose mission is to change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.” In early 2018, Devereux unveiled its organizational redesign initiative, which included an objective to form partnerships with organizations that enhance Devereux’s mission. The SPARC acquisition is one step toward meeting this objective. 

“Early intervention is critical when it comes to supporting individuals with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, or other behavioral concerns. SPARC’s programs will enrich Devereux’s comprehensive continuum of care, giving our southeastern Pennsylvania centers the ability to reach those in our communities who need services such as social skills programs, group services for preschool-age children and intensive feeding programs,” added Clark. “We look forward to working with SPARC’s outstanding leadership team to serve even more families, children and adults in the greater Philadelphia region.” 

As part of the acquisition, SPARC will remain a separate legal entity; however, it will receive administrative and other support from Devereux. Families who currently receive services through SPARC will not experience any changes to programs or service locations. A SPARC Board of Trustees – comprising SPARC and Devereux leaders – is in the process of being established.

“SPARC’s therapists and staff are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Devereux will bring to the community,” said SPARC Co-founder and Director Dr. Jennifer Dawson, Ph.D., BCBA, LBS. “Over the past 12 years, SPARC has provided individuals and their families with strong clinical care in many areas, but our scope has been limited due to size. The natural symmetry between SPARC and Devereux will allow our communities to benefit from the best of both organizations. Specifically, aligning Devereux’s strong clinical and financial foundation, and history of service, with SPARC’s unique programs, will enable us to reach more individuals in need of these critical services.”

About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations providing services, insight and leadership in the evolving field of behavioral healthcare. Founded in 1912 by special education pioneer Helena Devereux, the organization operates a comprehensive national network of clinical, therapeutic, educational, and employment programs and services that positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults – and their families – every year. Focused on clinical advances emerging from a new understanding of the brain, its unique approach combines evidence-based interventions with compassionate family engagement. 

With more than 7,500 employees working in programs across the nation, Devereux is a recognized partner for families, schools and communities, serving many of our country’s most vulnerable populations in the areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, education and child welfare. Programs are offered in hospital, residential, community and school-based settings. They include: assessments; interventions and support; transition and independent life services; family and professional training; research and innovation; and advocacy and public education. For more than a century, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has been guided by a simple and enduring mission: To change lives by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences. www.devereux.org


Established in 2007, SPARC is a nonprofit organization offering empirically-validated behavioral treatment programs to help individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as children with a variety of behavioral concerns or other developmental disabilities. SPARC provides center and community-based diagnostic, therapeutic, and educational services. Based in West Chester, Pa., the organization also offers educational and consultative services to community organizations, such as parent groups, schools, day cares, medical providers, and other service agencies, throughout Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia Counties. SPARC also serves as a teaching clinic for undergraduate and graduate students. Through a partnership with the West Chester University Foundation, SPARC received its nonprofit 501c3 status in October 2007. 

SPARC believes all children have unique needs, and strives to provide comprehensive therapeutic services to facilitate social, academic and personal growth, while providing support to families as they navigate the maze of evaluation and treatment. www.wcupa.edu/sparc/


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