Advocacy Resources/Links for Families

Family Ties Resource Directory

This is a comprehensive listing of resources for families with children with disabilities, special needs or chronic health issues.

Among listings of other resources, this directory includes listings and descriptions of national, statewide and local advocacy organizations. 

The Parents’ How-to Guide to Children’s Mental Health Services in Massachusetts

Comprehensive How-to guide for parents published by the Boston Bar Association and supported by Children’s Hospital explains when and how to navigate the mental health system in Massachusetts. Topics include problems your child may have, steps for getting help, paying for services, navigating mental health networks, services in your child’s school, and other state programs for mental health.

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Provides information and referral services for families of children with special needs.  If you have a question about the special education system, call the Federation’s Parent Training and Information referral line at 617-236-7210 for a free consultation.  Attend a basic rights workshop to learn all about your rights as a parent of a child with special needs. Click here to find out about the Federation’s basic rights workshops.

SPED Parent Basic Toolkit

The Concord Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (Concord SPED PAC) has assembled a comprehensive parent toolkit to help parents of patients with behavioral health and other diagnoses.

This toolkit contains many parent education resources for behavioral health diagnoses, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorders, autism, Asperger Syndrome, reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The toolkit is divided into two sections. One section helps parents learn about their child's disability. The other section helps parents navigate the special education system.

Even though the Concord SPED PAC created this web site, the information it contains is applicable to parents of children diagnosed with disabilities from all over the state of Massachusetts.

To visit this parent toolkit, click the link below:

Navigating the Special Education System

Navigating the special education system can be a daunting task for families.  "Navigating the Special Education System in Massachusetts" contains useful information for parents and providers.  It may be printed out and duplicated for distribution. Click here to download the article.

School Psychiatry Website- Mood and Anxiety Disorders Institute ( MADI)- Massachusetts General Hospital

Among other types of information regarding mental health issues, this website contains information about navigating the special education system.  One section includes a guide to educational evaluation of students with a mental health condition.  Another section describes school based interventions by diagnosis.

Parent/Professional Advocacy League

This is a statewide organization of families and professionals that advocates on behalf of children and adolescents with mental, emotional, or behavioral special needs and their families.

Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

This committee helps secure and protect the legal rights of people with mental health and/or retardation issues.  Their website contains useful information and links regarding the legal rights for these populations.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

National Chapter –

Massachusetts Chapter –

Central Massachusetts Chapter –

Provides support and advocacy services for people with mental illness.

This is a web site promoting depression prevention resources developed by McLean Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston. In the 'When a child is healthy' section of the Parent Resources page are tip sheets with activities to build resiliency and an article suggesting how to actively partner with your pediatrician for mental health.

Apply for DMH or DMR services:

Department of Mental Health Services

Click here (insert link to DMH pdf application) for an application for Child/Adolescent Application to DMH Mental Health Services.

Department of Mental Retardation Services

Click the above title for instructions on how to apply for DMR services.