Family Resource Center
The Family Resource Center offers assistance to parents and other primary care givers in their efforts to provide care in the home and community for a child or an adult with a developmental disability. Access to some services requires that the family member live at home and has been approved for supports by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) intake and eligibility process. However, there are many supports available to families throughout eastern Massachusetts that do not require a determination of eligibility from DDS. Families living in the Metro North Area (Everett, Lynnfield, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham) may be able to receive additional supports through DDS. Our philosophy is to do whatever it takes to support families by offering services which are flexible, individualized and family directed. We believe that when people with developmental disabilities and their families can obtain the information necessary they will lead more independent and fulfilling lives.
For more information contact Judy SantaMaria, Director (781) 587.2314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Services and Supports
Information and Referral: Who to call and where to go for help and assistance on a wide array of topics including but not limited to Educational, Medical, Recreational, Behavior and other areas of support.
Support Groups: An opportunity for families to come together and share common experiences in raising children with special needs. Current groups offered are Support for Seniors for the older caregiver and Sibshops across the life span. Topic based groups are also offered each year; these groups are based on interest from parents that we support.
Educational Programs and Trainings: Our FRIENDS series (Family, Resource, Information, Exchange, for Disability Solutions) offers workshops on a variety of topics including parenting, services and supports available, advocacy and opportunities for networking. Each spring we run a transition series to help families whose young adults are transitioning into Adult Services. In conjunction with Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Saugus we offer a Special Friends Story Time in the Children's Room. Kids from the community learn about differences and similarities too! Click here for our current FRIENDS calendar.(Calendar not currently active).
For Families Raising Children
Special Education Advocacy: Fee for service advocates can assist you in understanding special education laws and how they can benefit your child. Services include consultation, team meetings, record reviews, and negotiations.
Parent Support Groups: Groups that gather and meet on a variety of topics to meet family’s changing needs.
Sibshops: A recreationally based program for school-aged brothers and sisters ages 7-12 meets during school vacation weeks in the Reading area. Sibshops provide siblings for opportunities for peer support. Because Sibshops are designed for school aged children, peer support is provided within a lively, recreational context that emphasizes a kids's point of view. Click here for our current calendar
The Successful Parenting Program: This program is designed to meet the needs of parents with cognitive limitations. Through a parent aide program; parent education groups and case management, families work to establish a safe and stable home in which to raise their children. This program is funded by the Department of Children and Families and the Children's Trust Fund.
For Children Eligible for DDS Services
Respite Care: Respite providers can offer flexible care and companionship that aid in meeting individual family's needs. The Family Resource Center maintains a listing of providers that can be matched with families.
Intensive Flexible Family Support (IFFS): This program offers families whose children are at risk for residential placement, case management and support to enable them to care for their children at home. This is a family-directed program and services may include, but are not limited to: respite, behavioral consultation, educational advocacy, help in accessing other social support programs and flexible funding. Families are referred to the program by their local DDS Children’s Service Coordinator.
DESE/DDS Agreement: This is a joint program run through the Department of Education and the Department of Developmental Services. The purpose of the program is to enable families to bring back home a child in a residential placement, or to prevent an imminent residential placement from occurring. Services may include case management, respite, behavioral intervention and in-home training, and other individualized services that a family deems necessary to maintain their child at home.
For Families Supporting an Adult with Developmental Disabilities
Senior Support: Caregivers over the age of 65 meet monthly to discuss issues such as future planning, services and were to find support.
Adult Sibling: Special events are held throughout the year tailored to the needs of adult siblings. These events provide opportunities for adult siblings to learn more about services and supports available as well as discuss common concerns and experiences and how to advocate for their brothers and sisters.
Self-Advocacy: Opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to learn how to advocate for themselves.
Family to Family Support Center: Part of a statewide collaboration supporting individuals on the Boulet Settlement and others who wish to plan for their childs future. Provides information on best practices and innovative solutions for families interested in planning for the future; opportunities for networking; educational forums on housing issues, legal and financial planning, etc.; person-centered planning; and assistance in implementing future plans.
Adult Advocacy: Individualized assistance and consultation in accessing and navigating government benefit programs and services supporting adults with mental retardation.
For Adults living with a caregiver who are eligible for DDS supports
Respite Care: Respite providers can offer flexible care and companionship that aid in meeting individual family’s needs. The Family Resource Center maintains a listing of providers that can be matched with families.
Flexible Funding: Enables families to choose the support necessary to keep their children at home. Families may purchase goods and services or hire their own caregivers to give themselves a much-needed break.
Family Partnerships: When private funds from families and others are combined with public funds from DDS or other state/local agencies to develop a housing solution. EMARC assists families in developing comprehensive plans and provide or arrange for support services. Families and individuals direct the supports necessary.
Resources for Families
Arc Massachusetts: www.arcmass.org
Aspergers Association of New England (AANE): Provides information, support for parents of children with Aspergers. www.aane.org
Autism Support Center: Information and support for families of people with autism http://www2.shore.net/~nsarc/
The Beach Center on Family and Disability: Research briefs, plus a wide range of publications and fact sheets on family issues. www.beachcenter.org
Department of Developmental Services: Provides an array of services to people of all ages with developmental disabilities. www.mass.gov/dds
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Oversees the public education of all children in Massachusetts www.doe.mass.edu/
Department of Public Health: Oversees the health care system of Mass www.state.ma.us/dph
Division of Medical Assistance: Runs the MassHealth Program www.state.ma.us/dma
Federation for Children with Special Needs: www.fcsn.org
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC): gathers information and resources about the education and development of individuals who have disabilities www.ericec.org
Family Ties: An information and support network run by and for parents of children with special needs. Offers information and referral, parent to parent and general support. www.massfamilyties.org
Learning Disabilities: Information and resources for people who have learning disabilities and their families. www.ldonline.org
Mass Dental Society: Dental referral service for children with special needs www.massdental.org
Mass Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC): Statewide parent organization. www.mdsc.org
Mass Families Organizing for Change: Works to inform and educate individuals and families about advocacy, services and resources for individuals with disabilities. www.mfofc.org/
Mass Network of Information Providers (MNIP): Free information about disabilities, Mass programs, services and providers. www.disabilityinfo.org
Mass Parent Advisory Council (MASSPAC): Statewide network of Special education Parent Advisory Councils. www.masspac.org
Mass Rehab Commission (MRC): Provides vocational counseling, training and support for adults with disabilities. www.mass.gov/mrc
National Information Center of Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY): Provides information on disabilities and disability related issues. Information in Spanish and English. www.nichcy.org
Sibling Support: A resource designed to support brothers and sisters of people with special health and developmental needs. http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2661
Social Security Online:The official Social Security resource with information on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Benefits. http://www.ssa.gov/