Adequate - As used in the Department's regulations, this term means that services and supports are in compliance with the regulations of the Department.

Adult - An individual who is 18 years of age and over.

Appeal - A request for a higher level review of a decision in which the involved person disagrees.

Appropriate - As used in the Department's regulations, this term means that a service or support or facility that is sufficient to provide the quality and quantity of staff, assistance, intervention, and environment to meet the individual's needs or objectives indicated in his or her ISP (see ISP).

Area Director (AD) - The person who manages and oversees the administration of an Area Office as well as the services and supports this office offers to eligible individuals and families.

Area Office (AO) - One of 23 statewide locally based offices responsible for the organization, coordination, and provision of services or supports to individuals and families who live within the office's service area.

Case Management - An active relationship between the Department and individuals and families that provides support, guidance, problem-solving and assistance in accessing a range of supports such as community activities, educational opportunities, and other community resources (e.g. day care, health benefits, and medical supports. See Community Resources).

Central Office - The main headquarters of the Department of Developmental Services located at 500 Harrison Avenue in Boston.

Certification - Approval by the Department issued to providers of services and supports for persons with mental retardation based upon their compliance with certification standards and quality outcomes for individuals.

Child - Individual who is younger than 18 years of age.

Community - A city, town, district, neighborhood, or other commonly recognized geographical, social, or political area.

Community Resources - Workplaces, businesses, places of worship, social groups, consultants, health care facilities or professionals, places for recreation or entertainment, and other facilities, professionals, or supports generally available to the population-at-large within a community.

Competent - Means a person is capable of making informed decisions in specific areas regarding the conduct of one's personal and/or financial affairs.

Complaint - An allegation of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or of an illegal, dangerous or inhuman incident or condition that is communicated to us or the Disabled Persons Protection Commission

Consent - Voluntary approval given by a person who has adequate information, knowledge and understanding to comprehend the consequences of the decision.

CORI - Criminal Offender Records Information that the Department and other state agencies review to determine appropriateness of present or prospective direct care staff and volunteers to work with our consumers.

DDS - Department of Developmental Services, formerly known as DMR

DMR - Department of Mental Retardation, former name of DDS

DPPC - Disabled Persons Protection Commission

Employment - A job. We work in partnership with private agencies and other resources to provide employment to individuals with intellectual disability. Working with the individual, families, and the potential employer efforts are made to secure meaningful work that is a good match for the individual and the new employer.

Facility - (Formerly known as a State School). Also referred to as a developmental center, intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded, or ICF/MR in Massachusetts. A facility is a large complex that provides to the residents a program of active treatment as well as medical, psychological, nursing and habilitative services, and a program of active treatment. We currently operate six facilities across the state.

Family - Parent, foster parents, spouses, siblings, and others who perform the roles and functions of family members in the life of an individual, including persons in a relationship of mutual support with an individual that is exclusive and expected to endure over time.

Family Advisory Council - A group consisting primarily of family members that advises the Family Support Provider Agency (FSPA) on a variety of topics including, planning, implementation, and evaluations of services and supports.

Family Directed Projects - Family support initiatives where families are fully involved in guiding the manner in which supports are offered for each particular family support project. The Department and Family Support Provider Agencies maintain the governance of the project.

Family Governed Projects - Family support initiatives where families exercise control over major operational aspects of the project including the hiring and firing of staff, managing the budget, and developing policies and procedures. Family governance through these initiatives allows family groups to determine their membership from an identified group of eligible individuals and to prioritize and allocate family support funds for individuals.

Family Identified Staff - A program where family independently recruits and hires staff for support (respite, skills training, etc.).

Family Support - A supplemental support service model for families who care for their family member with a disability at home. Family Support is designed to provide a wide array of options to families of individuals with disabilities that enable them to stay together and to be welcomed, and contributing members of their home communities.

Family Support Agency/Family Support Provider Agency (FSPA) - The provider agency with day-to-day- responsibility for the operation of family services and supports pursuant to its contract with us.

Family Support Allocation - The amount of dollars available to a family based on completion of needs assessment, availability of resources and their identified prioritization for funding as determined by the Area Director. The allocation is inclusive of other service costs, such as case management, as well as flexible allocation. This allocation is managed either by the Family Support Provider Agency or by the family.

Family Support Plan (FSP) - This plan includes a listing of supports, goods, and services that have been identified as appropriate to meet the needs of the family during each fiscal year (See Fiscal Year) as well as the associated cost to us. The FSP is signed by the designated provider agency staff, family member, and when appropriate, the individual.

Fiscal Year - The Commonwealth of Massachusetts operates on an annual fiscal budget that runs from July 1 to June 30th of the following year.

Flexible Family Support - A component of the Family Support model that provides funds to families that can be used in a flexible manner to purchase goods and services to support their family member with a disability in the family home and community.

Generic Services - Services, supports, treatment or life options that are available to the general public and may or may not require special accommodations.

Governing Board - The governing body of a provider.

Guardian - A person or entity that has legal guardianship is a natural or adoptive parent, individual or agency that has legal guardianship of persons under the age 18 years. With respect to persons 18 years of age or older, it is the individual, organization or agency, if any, that has been appointed legal guardian of the person by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Habilitation - The process by which an individual acquires and maintains the life skills necessary to cope more effectively with personal and environmental demands or to improve physical, mental, and social competencies.

Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBS) - A federal program authorized by Section 1915 (c) of the Social Security Act. The HCBS waiver for MR/DD is a Medicaid program that covers home and community based services for individuals eligible for our services and meet the Medicaid and HCBS waiver criteria for participation in the waiver.

Housing - A program that provides a home or lodging to an individual with intellectual disability.

Individual - A person receiving services or supports provided, purchased, or arranged by us.

Individual Support Plan (ISP) - A written plan of services or supports for an individual over the age of 22 which is developed, implemented, reviewed, and modified according to the requirements of the Department's regulations on individual support plans.

Least Restrictive - Those settings, modes of service, and styles of living and working that are most similar to and most integrated with what is typical and age-appropriate in the community, and which interfere the least with the individual's independence.

License - As used in the Department's regulations, authorization granted by us to a person or entity to offer and provide to the public, mental retardation services or supports.

Minor - A person under the age of 18.

Region - One of four service catchment areas across Massachusetts. The four Regions are: Central West, Northeast, Southeast, and Metro.

Regional Family Support Director, Regional Director of Family Support - Our staff who is administratively responsible for the management and delivery of Family Support Services provided through the Area Offices.

Regional Director (RD) - The staff who oversees the administration and management of supports and the operations of the area offices within the Region.

Regional Office - One of the four offices located within each region where our staff implement the policies and standardization of the services offered by the area offices in the Region.

Residential - Having to do with where people live.

Respite - A period of rest or relief provided for the family in the care and supervision of their family member with a disability.

School District - The municipal city, town or regional school district that has the programmatic and financial responsibility for the student based on residency..

Service Coordinator - The person designated by the Department to arrange, coordinate, monitor, and remain informed about services or supports we provide, purchases, or arranges for a particular individual.

Services - A system of formalized supports, generic or specialized.

Stipend - Sum of money that a Family Support Provider Agency pays to an individual or family for the purchase of goods and services.

Supports - Resources and strategies that promote and individual's interests and enable the person to access resources, services, information, and relationships that result in enhanced independence, productivity, community integration and satisfaction.

Vocational - Having to do with employment, a job, or one's career path.


This information is provided by the Department of Developmental Services.