Family Support ServicesChildren, Youth, and Family Services
Regional Family Support Center155 Webster Street, Unit D Hanover, MA 02339 781-878-4074
BAMSI operates a regional Family Support Center in Hanover that serves as a hub, offering a wide range of general family support services and activities to families of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Program services include: information and referral, flexible funds management as needed, support groups, parent networking and mentoring, facilitation of social and recreational events, service navigation (short- and long-term), community affiliation/linkage, and a resource library.
The Family Support Center provides quality service navigation for families of children and adults with disabilities. This service is comprehensive, with individualized information, guidance, and support to families to address their specific needs, connect them to potential resources, and assist them with specific problem-solving as staff helps families navigate the complex service system. The Center is designed to assist families in understanding the various systems of supports that are often fragmented and difficult to access.
The Family Support Center operates through both an open and closed referral process, which enables families to walk in to the Center for support or visit as a result of a referral from the local Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Office. Following the process for support enrollment, the Family Support Coordinator meets with the family either at the Center or at a designated location selected by the family. BAMSI’s Family Support Center staff will directly assist families to identify and develop resources, while also working toward empowerment in an effort to support the emerging independence and self-determination of their disabled family member. As with all BAMSI family partnership programs, BAMSI staff will work alongside family members and individuals, recognizing and supporting their strengths while respecting their privacy and honoring their choices and preferences.
Families and individuals are supported to identify strengths, interests, and needs. Families are encouraged to determine current and future support needs. Family Support Coordinators, volunteers, and family mentors train and assist families with a variety of goals, including public benefits, navigating the service system, self-advocacy and empowerment, resource sharing, parental skills development, and use of medical equipment. Families are encouraged to utilize natural community and familial supports with the intention of relying less on Family Support Services over time and assuring sustainability.
Intensive Flexible Family Support Services
Intensive Flexible Family Support Services (IFFS) provides a time-limited, specialized service for families experiencing significant challenges that place their children at risk of out-of-home placement. Families who are at risk of having their child placed outside of the home require a high level of support, which is provided by IFFS. IFFS also provides a variety of resources and linkages to stabilize the situation and sustain the family over time.
IFFS services are co-located at BAMSI’s Family Support Center in Hanover. IFFS focuses specifically on each individual family and their needs. A family-specific plan is developed with family members instrumental in identifying goals to address immediate concerns and evolve into a plan for sustainability. In addition to identifying needs, a strengths discovery is conducted with each family to identify natural resources and current or potential supports that can be utilized, thus allowing the child to remain successfully at home.
In order to achieve the ultimate goal of avoiding out-of-home placement, short-term goals are established to stabilize the family situation and alleviate immediate stress. An assessment of current family supports (i.e., assistance from other family members, local school systems, doctors) occurs, allowing staff to focus efforts on the greatest areas of need and additional supports to seek. Additional support may include financial assistance, further help from family or community supports, child care, counseling, medical care, peer relationships, or other areas.
Through IFFS, the goal for each family is to transition to less intensive supports within 6 – 12 months. One option for families is to transition from IFFS to BAMSI’s less intensive Family Support Center. Continued service from any of the programs to which the family was referred through BAMSI is also available. IFFS staff works with the family and the local DDS office to ensure a successful transition.
Medically Complex Program Services
The Medically Complex Program (MCP) known as Family Partnerships is also co-located at the Family Support Center in Hanover. MCP supports families with children and young adults having significant cognitive, physical, and intensive health care needs who are living at home. MCP offers an array of support options to families (parents and siblings) to keep their family member at home and allow for a meaningful quality of life for all.
BAMSI’s program design for MCP includes the following services: information and referral, flexible funds management as needed, support groups, family-to-family networking, assessment of family need, service navigation (short- and long-term), community affiliation/linkage, and training families on available clinical and medical resources. Due to its intensive nature, MCP allows staff to focus on each individual family and work with them to develop a plan that will keep their child in the home and assist them to transition to a less intensive support system.
MCP staff members focus on providing information and education to families regarding entitlements and responsibilities within the child’s medical service delivery system. MCP staff will also research, identify, and access community resources to assist families in meeting the child’s goals and need. Flexible funding is available for families in need, as staff identifies and secures in-home supports. The staff also works to support and assist parents in preparation for meetings regarding their child and/or services.