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DDS Family Support Centers

Each Family Support Center provides the following array of services and supports for families: Information & Referral, Family Trainings, Parent Networking, Community Connections & Resources, Service Navigation, Administration of Flexible Funding.

Table of Contents

Family Support Centers

Family Support Centers across the state provide a local presence and act as a hub for offering a wide range of general family support services and activities to families of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  There is at least one Family Support Center in each DDS Area, with some Areas having more than one.  Broad outreaches is the expectation for the centers and provide services to families from diverse cultural, ethnic and linguistic communities in the geographic area they are serving, which may involve creating partnerships with community organizations and other resources in order to provide culturally responsive services.  Center staff are expected to be experts in generic resources and services in their respective areas and work with families to maximize natural supports.  Centers are expected to encourage active family involvement and consultation to identify interests and needs in developing activities and service options.

Family Support and Autism Support Centers are able to assist families in submitting an application for eligibility and provide assistance and support throughout the intake process as requested by families. This includes helping families understand how to complete the necessary steps to apply for DDS eligibility (e.g., whom to call, paperwork). Families are able to access some of the general services of the Family Support and Autism Support Centers prior to their child or adult family member being found eligible for DDS services, such as Information and referral and trainings.

 

INFORMATION & REFERRAL

  • Assistance to families in identifying resources and service options available in their local communities, as well as learning about other financial and/or state services for which families may be eligible (MassHealth, etc.), and provide guidance on how to navigate the service system.  This can occur through phone contacts, 1:1 meeting at a variety of locations.  
  • Use of technology to provide a variety of ways to share information with families.
  • A “library” of resources, such as helpful websites, fact sheets, community resources, information technology resource options, books, videos, etc. 

 

FAMILY TRAININGS

Sponsor educational events and trainings on relevant topics of interest to families of both children and adults which are open to all families for participation. 

 

 

PARENT NETWORKING

Promote parent networking and mentoring, such as parent support groups, parent connections (1:1 matching), and sibling support opportunities, as well as parental involvement in organizing or leading activities, etc. 

 

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS & RESOURCES

Foster community affiliations and connections to explore and maximize the use of natural and generic resources and other potential sources of funding.

 

SERVICE NAVIGATION

Comprehensive and individualized information, guidance, and support to families to address their needs, connect them to potential resources, assist with problem-solving, and help them navigate the service system. The level of involvement with each family will vary based on the needs of the individual and family. There are two types of Service Navigation:

 

  • Short-Term Service Navigation The design is for families who will benefit from more individualized assistance for a period of time to obtain information, to receive assistance in accessing other services, or to receive guidance in addressing some specific problems. Development of an action plan with families occurs to focus on specific objectives. 
  • Extended Service Navigation The design is to provide ongoing support and coordination of services. Each Center has the capacity to provide Extended Service Navigation to an identified number of individuals/families. The Area Office must make referrals for this service, but the family, Family Support Center staff, or the Area Office can initiate the request. This service can also assist families to help plan and organize in-home supports they need to support their family member at home. Development of a Family Support Plan is an aid to remain focused on goals.

ADMINISTRATION OF FLEXIBLE FUNDING

The Department may provide individual, flexible funding allocations to families based on the priority of need of the family and available budget resources. This funding must be used for allowable supports, services, or goods as defined in the Department’s Addendum to the Family Support Guidelines and Procedures, January 2011. 

Family Support Directory

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides funding for family support programs and services across the state designed to provide information, assistance, and an array of supportive services to families with children and adults with disabilities who are living at home.

Any family can contact one of the Family Support Centers listed in this Directory for information and referral services. However, to receive other DDS funded family support services, an individual must be found eligible for DDS services and must be living at home with their family.

Additional Resources

DESE DDS Program

The DESE DDS Program facilitates effective transitions from school life to more independent life within the community for students receiving publicly funded special education services who also meet the DDS eligibility criteria for services.

Additional Resources

DESE Transition Project / Coordinated Pandemic-Related Transition Services

This Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Transition Project is community-based groups developed to reflect the interests of the individuals who participate in them. The participating Family Support Centers will offer a variety of groups in the evenings and on weekends that are open to individuals who:

  • Turned 22 between March 10, 2020 and September 30, 2022; and
  • Participated in special education until they turned 22 years old; and
  • Are DDS eligible.

The participating Family Support Centers are listed below, along with the towns where they are offering in-person groups. If your town isn’t listed, please contact The Federation for Children with Special Needs at 800-331-0688 or at https://fcsn.org/transition-support/ to learn about how to be added to an interest list, as well as other agencies who may be able to provide services under this Project.

Berkshire County ARC
46 Elm Street
Pittsfield MA 01201

Serving the Berkshire County Area: ADAMS, BECKET, DALTON, GREAT BARRINGTON,LANESBORO, LEE, LENOX, NEW MARLBORO,NORTH ADAMS, PITTSFIELD, SHEFFIELD

Contact:
Dr. Sonja Haecker
413-499-4241
bcarc.org
email: SHaecker@bcarc.org

 

Better Community Living
5 Ventura Dr.
Dartmouth, MA 02747

Serving the Cape and Islands: Barnstable, BOURNE, BREWSTER, DENNIS, EDGARTOWN, FALMOUTH, HARWICH, MASHPEE, OAK BLUFFS, ORLEANS, SANDWICH, WELLFLEET, WEST TISBURY, YARMOUTH

Serving the New Bedford Area: ACUSHNET, DARTMOUTH, FAIRHAVEN, MATTAPOISETT, NEW BEDFORD, ROCHESTER, WAREHAM

Contact:
Cathy Tremblay
508-999-4300
bettercommunity.com
email: cathy_tremblay@bettercommunity.com

 

ARC of Greater Brockton
1250 West Chestnut Street
Brockton, MA 02301

Serving the Brockton Area: ABINGTON, AVON, BRIDGEWATER, BROCKTON,
East BRIDGEWATER, EASTON, HOLBROOK, ROCKLAND, STOUGHTON, West BRIDGEWATER, WHITMAN

Contact:
508-583-8030
arcofgreaterbrockton.org
email: info@arcofgreaterbrockton.org



Communitas
60 D Audubon Road
Wakefield, MA 01880

Serving the MetroNorth Area: EVERETT, LYNNFIELD, MALDEN, MEDFORD, MELROSE, NORTH READING, READING, SAUGUS, STONEHAM, WAKEFIELD

Serving the Greater Boston Area: CHELSEA, REVERE, 

Contact:
781.587.2200
communitasma.org
email:

 

Charles River Center
59 East Militia Heights Drive
Needham, MA 02492

Serving the Middlesex West Area: ASHLAND, DOVER, FRAMINGHAM, HOLLISTON,
HOPKINTON, HUDSON, MARLBOROUGH, NATICK, NORTHBOROUGH, SHERBORN, SOUTHBOROUGH, SUDBURY, WAYLAND, WESTBOROUGH

Serving the Charles River West Area: BELMONT, CAMBRIDGE, SOMERVILLE, WALTHAM, WATERTOWN

Contact:
Jackie Milian
781-972-1048
charlesrivercenter.org
email: jmilian@charlesrivercenter.org
email: familysupport@charlesrivercenter.org

 

Plymouth County Family Support
118 Long Pond Rd #100
Plymouth, MA 02360

Serving the Plymouth Area: CARVER, DUXBURY, HALIFAX, HANOVER, HANSON,
KINGSTON, MARSHFIELD, PEMBROKE, PLYMOUTH, PLYMPTON, SCITUATE

Serving the South Coastal Area: BRAINTREE, HINGHAM, MILTON, NORWELL,
QUINCY, RANDOLPH, WEYMOUTH

Contact:
Jessica Gonsalves
508-927-4520
pcfamilysupport.org
email: JessicaG@pcfamilysupport.org
email: info@pcfamilysupport.org

 

People Inc.
4 South Main St.
Fall River, MA 02721

Serving the Fall River Area: FALL RIVER, FREETOWN, SOMERSET, SWANSEA,
WESTPORT

Serving the Taunton Area: ATTLEBORO, BERKLEY, DIGHTON, MANSFIELD,
MIDDLEBORO, NORTH ATTLEBORO, NORTON, RAYNHAM, REHOBOTH, SEEKONK, TAUNTON

Contact:
Melanie Fragoza
774-488-5334
peopleincfr.org
email:

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