Family Networking Groups, united by culture, language and/or areas of common need, offer families the opportunity to work together in many different ways. Areas of interest include planning workshops and other training events, advocating for legislative goals, and working towards more effective supports and services. Additionally, these groups provide members with mutual support and opportunities to share experiences. The following list provides a brief overview of the current MCS Family Networking Groups.
Advocacy After Placement Group
This group consists of parents whose sons and daughters reside in group homes or independent living situations. They meet to address concerns that families face overseeing the care of their children and to develop strategies for effective advocacy. Parents meet monthly at the MCS Family Support Center in Springfield.
Family Information Resource and Support Team (FIRST)
FIRST is a group of African American parents whose focus is on the unique issues and concerns of the African American community in accessing services. FIRST meets monthly at the MCS Family Support Center in Springfield.
This is a group for grandparents who are the primary caregivers for a grandchild with a disability. They meet to share concerns, provide support to one another, and address challenges as they advocate for their grandchildren. This group meets monthly at the MCS Family Support Center in Springfield.
Latino Support Groups
MCS offers two groups to support Latino families. Trainings and/or discussion topics focus on the unique issues and concerns of the Latino community in accessing services. Speakers are typically bilingual and written materials are provided in Spanish.
Padres Unidos en Acción (Parents United in Action) meets monthly at the MCS Family Support Center in Holyoke.
The Latino Support Group meets quarterly at the MCS Family Support Center in Springfield.
Parent Advocacy Group (PAG)
PAG consists of parents who have come together for support and training with a primary focus on planning for the future when they are no longer able to care for their son or daughter. They explore the range of traditional out of home residential options as well as designing creative and unique living arrangements for their family members. This group meets monthly at the MCS Family Support Center in Springfield.
MCS offers two transition programs for individuals and families living in the Holyoke/Chicopee area. Both of these programs offer young people and their parents the opportunity to socialize and to learn about topics of interest.
The First Friday Group meets in Belchertown on the first Friday of the month.
The Holyoke/Chicopee Transition Group meets in Chicopee on the second Friday of the month.