Improving care. Changing lives.

Massachusetts and Federal Agencies

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF): 

What they do: DCF works to protect children from abuse and neglect. DCF supports young adults in DCF custody (ages 18-22) transition to independent living. When possible, families may receive DCF supports and services at home. When necessary, DCF will work to provide foster care and/or permanent housing.

How this agency may help your child/family: As DCF works on behalf of the child, the range of services will differ for each child and family. Click here for a list of all DCF services.


Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS): 

What they do: DDS is the Massachusetts agency supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DDS services include the Autism Division.

How this agency may help your child/family: DDS works to connect individuals with services and supports in their communities. Services vary based on the age and needs of the individual. Click here for information explaining services and eligibility for children younger than 18 years

Click here for a list of all DDS services


Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE): 

What they do: DESE is the state agency overseeing elementary and secondary education in Massachusetts.

How this agency may help your child/family: DESE’s website has a number of resources, including information on laws, regulations, and special education.


Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH): 

What they do: Massachusetts DMH Division of Child, Youth and Family Services is responsible for providing supports to eligible youth with mental illness and their families. 

How this agency may help your child/family: DMH services typically support individuals with the most “severe and persistent cases of mental illness.” Click here for an overview of DMH of Child, Youth, and Families service offerings


Massachusetts Family Resource Centers (FRC): 

What they do: FRCs, located in all 14 Massachusetts counties, are “a statewide network of community-based providers offering multi-cultural parenting programs, support groups, early childhood services, information and referral resources and education for families whose children range in age from birth to 18 years of age.”

How this agency may help your child/family: FRCs offer some direct services such as parent programming and support groups. FCSs provide families access to information and assistance related to health care, safety, employment training, education and peer support.


MassHealth Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI): 

What they do: Children with significant behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs who have MassHealth Coverage are eligible for a range of home and community-based behavioral health services.

How this agency may help your child/family: Services for eligible children may include Intensive Care Coordination, In-Home Therapy, Family Support and Training, Therapeutic Mentoring Services, In-Home Behavioral Health Services, and Mobile Crisis Intervention.

Please visit this website for guides to CBHI services and how to apply for CBHI services. (Information available in several languages)


Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate (OCA):

What they do: OCA is an independent Massachusetts agency focused on “appropriate, timely and quality services” for children and families who receive state services. OCA works with legislators and professionals to improve services; provides information for children and families receiving state services; and takes complaints.

How this agency may help your child/family: OCA provides resources for support and services related to child-serving agencies. Click here for list of all resources. Information categories include:

  • Child Welfare Information
  • Juvenile Justice Information
  • Find an Attorney
  • Mental/Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Resources
  • Crisis Hotlines
  • Education Resources
  • Parent and Caregiver Support
  • LGBTQ Resources


Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC): 

What they do: MRC supports individuals with disabilities to live and work independently. Programs run by MRC: Vocational Rehabilitation, Community Living, and eligibility determination for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federal benefits programs.

How this agency may help your child/family: MRC Transition Services for Students and Youth begin at age 14. For eligible students, services may include work preparation, job assistance, leadership skills, and independent living skills. Click here for a list of these MRC services


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 

What they do: SAMHSA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has the mission of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on American communities. SAMHSA leads public health efforts on behavioral health issues.

How this agency may help your child/family: SAMHSA’s website offers helpful information for families, located under the following categories: