Family Advocates work directly with family members to provide hands-on assistance and advocacy throughout their love one’s life.
Our advocates help navigate the special education system through direct assistance with creating/completing individualized education plans (IEPs) and ensuring their implementation, as well as identifying and advocating for out of district placements, when appropriate. Family Advocates provide direct support to families by doing classroom observations, reviewing previous evaluations, reports, and plans, and attending IEP and other meetings with the school to ensure the child is receiving all the services and supports to which they are entitled.
Family Advocates offer comprehensive assistance managing the transition from special education services and supports provided throughout your child’s school to adult benefits and resources. Although the actual transition often happens at age 22, once your child turns 14, DLS can provide guidance and help families begin the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition. Transition planning includes exploring post-secondary opportunities, such as employment and day program options; understanding and putting into place alternative decision-making options such as guardianship and alternatives to guardianship; and connecting with adult service agencies that may provide your child with services when they graduate or turn 22 years old. We can help you understand what needs to be done and create a timeline with you to ensure your child is ready for the transition to adult benefits.
Individuals and families of adults with disabilities come to us with various needs and expectations. Some families need help starting the process of applying to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or applying for Social Security Income (SSI); some have specific goals such as finding the right day program or employment services for their family member. Family Advocates can help families of adults with disabilities find transportation, a place to live, someone to help them with daily living skills, a job counselor, and help accessing other community and governmental services and supports. We can also help families apply for SSI or SSDI, MassHealth, DDS services and supports, or other benefits on behalf of their family member. Additionally, we provide assistance with long-term planning, including advice on special needs trusts, guardianship, and alternatives to guardianship.
To learn more, call 781-693-5640, or email your questions to GetHelp@jfcsboston.org.
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