Parent Support and Resources
Family Ties is a statewide information and parent-to-parent support project for families of children with a disability, chronic illness or other special health care needs. It is administered by parent coordinators in six regional offices of the Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health. Family TIES regional parent coordinators can assist families in finding resources and services within their region; make parent-to-parent matches with other families who are experiencing similar situations; and provide general support to families of children with special health care needs. Call 800-905-TIES to connect with regional parent coordinator.
DDS Statewide Family Support Directory (pdf)
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 who are eligible for DDS services across the state.
Find your local Autism Support Center
Autism Speaks: The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit
Tool Kit will help guide you on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.
Massachusetts Sibling Support Network (MSSN) Programs
Provides information on service providers, workshops, adult & young sibling social groups.
Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)
Works with individuals, families, and professionals to help people with Asperger Syndrome and similar autism spectrum profiles to build meaningful, connected lives. We do this by providing information, education, community, support, and advocacy, all in an atmosphere of validation and respect. AANE also has extensive direct services for adults, including our LifeMAP coaching program.
51 Water Street, Suite 206, Watertown, MA 02472
Phone: 617 393-3824
Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC)
Premier child advocacy leader in Massachusetts. Provides help for children who are facing barriers to receiving educational supports and services to which they are legally entitled.
Address: 25 Kingston St, 2nd Floor Boston, MA 02111
Disability Hotline: 617 357-8431
Insurance Resource Center for Autism and Behavioral Health (IRC)
Resources for consumers, providers, clinicians, employers, and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.
Resource Specialists provide information about and referral to a broad range of programs including: Public benefits information and eligibility; the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund; Care Coordination Services; family-to-family supports; other programs within DPH, other state agencies, and community-based programs that may be able to provide additional assistance.
Toll free: 800 882-1435 (in Massachusetts only)
Phone: 617 994-9819 (Elaine M. Gabovitch, MPA Director)
SSI and Public Benefits Training and Technical Assistance
Provides up-to-date training and information for children with special health needs as federal and state laws and regulations change. Key activities include: telephone consultation, information and referral on public benefit and health financing programs; training programs on eligibility criteria and the application and appeals processes for SSI and other public benefits; and written materials on public benefit programs that are available for children with special health needs.
Phone: 617-624-6060 or 1-800-882-1435 (Gail Havelick, Director)
TTY: 617 624-5992
Early Childhood Services and Resources for Families
Learn about the programs and agencies that are licensed or funded by the Department of Early Education and Care, and find a provider or service in your area.
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs)
As a partner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency (CCR&R) can provide you with resources for accessing child care services.
Child Care Resource & Referral Search
Your local CCR&R agency keeps information on all licensed and licensed-exempt programs including child care centers, family child care providers, Presehools, and out of school time programs.
Early Education and Care Financial Assistance for Families
The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provides child care financial assistance for families in need. In order to be eligible for funding, you and your family must meet certain requirements. You may be placed on waiting list if funding is not immediately available.
Massachusetts Early Intervention (EI) is a program for infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years old) who have developmental delays or are at risk of a developmental delay.
Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)
Operates as a Parent Center offering a variety of services to parents and parent groups. Provides up to date information on special education legislation.
The Schrafft Center
529 Main St, Suite 1M3
Boston, MA 02129
Toll free: 800 331-0688 (in Massachusetts only)
Phone: 617 236-7210
Massachusetts Act Early Program
Local affiliate of the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign: Web site offers families and professionals free downloadable information, materials and training about healthy developmental milestones in young children, early warning signs of developmental concerns, the importance of routine developmental and autism screening, and timely early intervention whenever there is a concern.
Contact Massachusetts Act Early
Team Leader: Roula Choueiri, MD
Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Pediatrician
Chief, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
CDC Act Early State Ambassador: Kate Barlow, OTDAmerican International College
Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (MAAPS)
List of 766 approved schools, educational programs to students with special needs in Massachusetts.
Phone: 781 245-1220
Massachusetts Association of Special Education Parent Advisory Council (MASSPAC)
Statewide organization that provides information, training and networking opportunities to Massachusetts special education Parent Advisory Councils (PACs), the parents and professionals who collaborate with them.
Phone and TTY: 617-236-7210
Toll Free: 800-331-0688 (MA only)
Massachusetts Center for Family and Community Engagement Team (FACET)
The Massachusetts Center for Family and Community Engagement in Schools and its Family and Community Engagement Team (FACET) will partner with districts and schools to improve student achievement and school performance through strengthening family and community engagement policies, designing strategies for enhanced family and community engagement and implementing activities directly with families, teachers, administrators, community members and other stakeholders. For more information about FACET and the Massachusetts Center for Family and Community Engagement, call Phone: 617-236-7210.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
The goal of the Massachusetts public K-12 and adult education system is to prepare all students for success in life.
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
Phone: 781 338-3000
Toll free: 800 439-2370
Massachusetts Technology Assistance Resource Team (MASSTART)
Free collaborative service that helps families and schools plan for the health care and safety of children and adolescents with special health needs, especially those assisted by medical technology. MASSSTART providers work collaboratively with families and school personnel, and provide training and consultation for individual children as well as general training.
Regional MASSTART Providers – See a list of MASSTART providers.
Massachusetts Bureau of Transitional Planning
Massachusetts Chapter 688 of the Acts of 1983, also known as the “turning 22” law, provides a planning process for young adults with severe disabilities as they leave special education and transition into the adult service system.
National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE)
NAPCSE is only able to answer questions related to children’s educational issues submitted by NAPCSE members. Website viewed by public has disability information, special education and parent resources.
National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC) –
NAPSEC member programs provide educational therapeutic services to both publicly and privately placed individuals that are not able to be successfully educated in the regular education environment.
Directions: Resources for Your Child’s Care
Contains strategies to help families organize health and school records, information about caring for your child’s special needs, being prepared for an emergency and connecting parents and families. Available for download in English, Spanish and Portuguese
Massachusetts Department of Public Health Division for Perinatal, Early Childhood and Special Health Needs Programs
The goal of the Division for Children & Youth with Special Health Needs is to promote good health and quality of life for all children and youth with special health care needs and their families.
Massachusetts Family-to-Family Health Info Center
Project of Mass Family Voices (Federation for Children with Special Needs). Activities include providing training opportunities and technical assistance to families to help them advocate for quality health care services for their children and youth with special health care needs.
Toll free: 800 331-0688 x301
Healthy Relationships, Sexuality and Disability Resource Guide
Young people living with disabilities (and their families and health care providers) helped create this guide. It lists their favorite sources of information about growing up healthy and safe.
Provides resources and information for families with special health care needs.
Toll free: 800 331-0688 x301 (Leave a message. Calls will be returned)
Parent/Professional Advisory League (PPAL)
Statewide family organization dedicated to improving the mental health and well-being of children, youth and families through education, advocacy and partnership.
Parent Resource line: 866 815-8122
Children’s Behavioral & Health Initiative (CBHI)
The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) is an inter-agency initiative of the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services whose mission is to strengthen, expand and integrate Massachusetts state services into a comprehensive, community-based system of care, to ensure that families and their children with significant behavioral, emotional and mental health needs obtain the services necessary for success in home, school and community.
MassHealth Behavioral Health Services for Children & Youth Under 21 Guide
This guide was created for staff working in education, social services, health care, and other community-based organizations who serve children, youths, and their families.
Mental Health Resources
Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI)
Helps MassHealth children with behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs and their families with integrated behavioral health services and a comprehensive, community-based system of care.
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) HandHold
DMH has a collection of resources that you can try at home today and organizations that can help.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Massachusetts Resources for Children and Teens
Includes family support programs.
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) Children’s Mental Health
MSPCC offers advocacy, parent and family supports, children’s mental health resources and Child Sexual Abuse resources.
Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC) has six highly reputable partner organizations:
- The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- Boston Children’s Hospital
- Parent/Professional Advocacy League
- Health Care for All
- Health Law Advocates
- Massachusetts Association for Mental Health
Mass Legal Services Parents’ How-To Guide to Children’s Mental Health Services in Massachusetts (.pdf)
Practical and easy to read, the Guide provides information about the kinds of behavioral health services available for children in our state, how to get those services, and how to pay for them.
Medline Plus Children’s Health from National Institutes of Health and U.S. National Library of Medicine – Provides information about physical, mental and social well-being. Some areas covered are ADHD, Childhood Cancers, Mental Health and Common Illnesses.
Parent’s Guide to Clinical Trials Boston Children’s Hospital
Helps parents learn about the basics of medical research, become familiar with medical lingo, gather information so they can make informed decisions about whether or not to allow their child to participate in medical research.
Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund provides this online resource full of parenting tips sorted by age group (infants to 18-year-olds) and can search under headings like: Stressed Out and Feeling It, Disciplining and Guiding Your Child, Parent-Child Communication, and Child Safety.
How to Teach Children about Disabilities and Inclusion
Baylor University information: Teaching youth to share and accept each other’s differences is part of building an inclusive culture that shields students with disabilities from bullying.
Pediatric Special Needs Resources for Families in Massachusetts with Special Needs Children Pediatric Special Needs Resources for Massachusetts Families.
A community of concerned citizens: a grassroots, nonprofit, social change movement working to eliminate the root causes of educational neglect of students with disabilities, ages 3-21.
Listing of Special Needs Educational Workshop Events, Camps, Camp Fairs, Resources in Greater Massachusetts. Lists events by “All Ages” and ‘Teens and Young Adults”. Also has listing of School SPED PACs.
Wealth of information on assessments, school laws, and professionals.
A Parent’s Guide to Special Education (pdf)
Published by Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) and Massachusetts Department of Education, is available in Spanish and Portuguese.
Massachusetts Department of Education
Parents’ special education information brochures.
Up-to-date education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
ThoughtCo Special Education Resources
Sue Watson provides strategies, resources, helpful information, legislation, and ideas to support special education and meet the needs of exceptional individuals.
INDEX Transition Resources, Ages 14-22, Fact Sheet
Planning for Life After Special Education (pdf)
Online manual about what transition services are, how you can advocate for your student, how your student can learn self-advocacy skills and what services are available after leaving special education.
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)
Coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures.
Thinking About Tomorrow: The Transition to Adult Life
National Down Syndrome Society article written by Jo Ann Simons offers some information and options for Transition.
Provides online information, support, and professional development on topics related to the transition from school to adult life for youth with disabilities.
Autism Speaks Transition to Adulthood Toolkit
The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit will help guide you on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.
The Association for Higher Education and Disability
Offers resources for parents and professionals who are interested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled people.
Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT)
The Transition Resource Guide contains frequently used low-cost/no-cost web-based transition resources available to professionals, students with disabilities, and their families.
College Internship Program at Berkshire Center
Provides individualized, post-secondary, academic, internship, and independent living experience for young adults with Asperger’s, ADD, High-functioning Autism and other Learning Differences.
Internet Special Education Resources (ISER)
LD College Programs and Placement for Young Adults with Special Needs
Internet Special Education Resources (SERI)
College Programs For Young Adults with Special Needs plus College Placement / Prep for Special Needs Young Adults
HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center
Transition to College and Work for Teens. Includes useful tips, key websites and research reports.
National Down Syndrome Society
Has information about grants for people ages 18 and older who have Down syndrome, to fund post-secondary and enrichment programs.
Office of Post-secondary Education
The Office of Post-secondary Education (OPE) formulates federal post-secondary education policy and administers programs that address critical national needs in support of our mission to increase access to quality post-secondary education.
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability.
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Post-secondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
US Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)
The OCTAE website has information, research, and resources to help prepare young people and adults for post-secondary education, successful careers and productive lives
Fact Sheet last updated on: 3/27/2023
Disclaimer: INDEX is pleased to provide you this information. Please note, this information is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to take the place of professional advice. We encourage you to check other resources of such information. No endorsement by the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, DisabilityInfo.org, INDEX, or affiliates, should be inferred. We reserve the right to remove, to modify, or to add any information at any time, for any reason, and without notice.