Family Initiatives programs are designed and staffed by parents of children who have received Early Intervention services and/or have special health care needs, disabilities or chronic illnesses. Staff works regionally across the state to provide a variety of supports to families including:
  • Education, training and leadership development
  • Information and referral services
  • Parent to Parent support
  • Networking and partnership opportunities

Major projects and activities of the Family Initiatives Unit include:

The Early Intervention Parent Leadership Project (EIPLP): Staffed by a full time project director and three project coordinators, EIPLP works to ensure family participation across the EI service system, from the local program level to the statewide Interagency Coordinating Council and on to national leadership activities. The Project goal is to support families to grow lifelong leadership and advocacy skills that can be used within their families and communities. Training, mentoring, identification of opportunities and stipends for participation are offered. Information about EIPLP is available at, or by calling 1-877-353-4757.

Family TIES (Together in Enhancing Support) of Massachusetts: Statewide information, referral and parent-to-parent support network. Family TIES is staffed by a full time project director, a parent to parent coordinator and six regional parent coordinators. The Project provides a variety of supports and information to families whose children have special health needs and their providers including training, information about local and statewide resources and connection to parents with similar life circumstances. Family TIES serves as the Central Directory for Early Intervention Services. Information about Family TIES is available at, or by calling 1-800-905-8437.

Family Support Plan: Development of legislatively mandated Chapter 171 Plan, M.G.L. Chapter 6A: Section 16F, based on substantial consultation with families. The Plan works to enhance flexible family supports and community inclusion for families whose children have special health care needs and disabilities. Information about the DPH Family Support plan is available by calling 617-624-5979.

Emergency Preparedness for families whose children have complex health care needs: Development of and training for readiness in the event of emergencies. Facilitation of community based planning that includes families and incorporates information about additional and specific needs of children with complex special health needs. Preparing for a disaster emergency.

We’re all in this Together: Considerations for Individuals with Access and Functional Needs

We encourage all families whose children have care needs over and above those of most children to complete and return a Disability Indicator Form. The Form offers families a way to let local emergency services know that they may need additional assistance because of special circumstances. Download the Form at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, complete and send it to the Disability Coordinator in your community.

Promoting Family-Professional Partnerships: MDPH is committed to meaningful family participation in the development of policies and programs as a strategy to improve systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs and their families. For information and resources to assist families and health care organizations to take on a variety of partnership roles contact the Office of Family Initiatives.

Comment on Key Activities and the Family Support Plan

This information is provided by the Family Initiatives within the Department of Public Health.