Every child is a gift, but raising a child with cerebral palsy is a special challenge and responsibility. Parenting a child with a disability often requires reliance on medical professionals, additional caregivers and the support of others in the same situation. By bringing together families of children with cerebral palsy, we hope to help parents make the right decisions for their families and children. The CP Family Network mission is to:
- Provide information to all cerebral palsy families about diagnosis, treatments and resources for their child.
- Provide information and legal resources to families that suspect a preventable birth injury may have caused their child’s CP.
Cerebral Palsy is a Disorder, Not a Disease
Cerebral palsy is not a disease and parents should not blame themselves. While the medical community is still unsure of all the causes of cerebral palsy, some reasons include1:
- Random mutations in genes that control brain development
- Maternal infections that affect the developing fetus
- Fetal stroke; a disruption of blood supply to the developing brain
- Lack of oxygen to the brain (asphyxia) related to difficult labor or delivery
- Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain
- Traumatic head injury to an infant from a motor vehicle accident, fall or child abuse
According to the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year about 10,000 babies born in the United States will develop cerebral palsy. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 instances of cerebral palsy could not have been prevented and are due to natural causes. Sadly, approximately 20% of cerebral palsy cases are caused by preventable birth injuries. We are especially committed to helping families in these situations find answers. Birth injuries can result from2:
- Missed, ignored or misinterpreted warning signs on fetal heart monitors
- Unnecessarily delayed C-sections
- Failure to resuscitate a newborn who needed help breathing
- Failure to diagnose or treat an infection
- Negligent application of vacuum extractor equipment or forceps
- Misdiagnosis of fetal position in the uterus
Raising Awareness to Prevent Birth Injuries
The families that helped launch this support group had one tragedy in common: their children developed cerebral palsy after suffering preventable birth injuries. No family should have to live every day knowing that, were it not for mistakes made during labor and delivery, their child may be living without a disability. We’re working with some of the nation’s leading birth injury attorneys to raise awareness of this problem and force medical professionals and hospitals across the country to take steps to end these needless tragedies.
Uncovering the Truth
When we suspected our children had been injured during birth, we quickly discovered we needed legal help to find out the truth from our doctors and the hospitals where our children were born. The Medical Director of the CP Family Network, Giles H. Manley, M.D., J.D., and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and his team of medical and legal experts have investigated over 15,000 instances of cerebral palsy to determine whether or not a birth injury may have been the cause.
With the help of Dr. Manley and the birth injury attorneys at Janet, Jenner & Suggs, we learned more about the injuries that caused our children’s cerebral palsy. Having answers has let us know that we didn’t do anything wrong and has helped us move on with our lives. Janet, Jenner & Suggs also made sure we have enough money to take care of our children’s future medical, care giving and educational needs.
Join Our Family
We are truly a community and want to hear from you! We share free resources including a searchable online directory of support organizations in every state, a printable Care Guide, and more. Do you have a favorite resource or an inspirational story you’d like to share? We encourage submissions and feedback from the community. We welcome your questions and invite you to learn more about us.