For more than 40 years, Multicultural Community Services of the Pioneer Valley, Inc. (MCS) has been an innovator in the provision of Family Support services and continues to be a statewide leader in the delivery of these services. MCS is primarily funded by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and currently serves more than 3000 individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism throughout western Massachusetts
As our name implies, MCS is committed to providing responsive support to individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. Our Family Support services are crafted with the firm belief that individuals with disabilities are best supported by being home with their families. We consider families to be the experts in caring for their family member with a disability, and we endeavor to work alongside individuals with disabilities and their families to create and ensure a quality of life filled with happiness and opportunity – an enviable life!
Family Support Centers
We are pleased to host three Family Support Centers, which are the hub of our Family Support services. All three centers are conveniently located and completely accessible, and they strive to be an important part of the local community. We are staffed with a professional and dedicated team who are ready to assist you in meeting the needs of your family member with a disability. We welcome you to reach out to us by phone (or email) and we encourage you to come visit us at a Family Support Center.
Each Family Support Center has a Family Advisory Council. As we previously stated, individuals with disabilities and families should be the ultimate decision-makers in all areas of supports and services that are appropriate for their family. By joining a Family Advisory Council, you can directly provide input, ideas, and feedback on the supports and services that MCS offers.
Parent training—both virtually and in-person—is offered on a wide variety of topics and concerns for families. The ideas for many of these workshops are generated by family members and we seek to respond when a common theme or topic emerges. In partnership with Mass Families, we offer a yearly Family Leadership Series that provides individuals and families with the vision, knowledge, and leadership skills they need to live in their communities as naturally and typically as desired.
Center-sponsored activities are an important part of the services we provide. Some past activities have included dances, holiday parties, “Trunk or Treat”, Backpack Giveaway, semi-formal and themed dinner dances, Thanksgiving Basket raffles, MCS Family Jamboree and more. Our very creative staff are always coming up with ideas for new activities, and they’re open to any suggestions for future events.
You can find many specialized groups at our Family Support Centers, such as the Grandparents Group, the Preschool Playgroup, Padres Unidos En Accion and others.
The MCS Family Support Centers are staffed with dozens of compassionate and committed professionals who are ready to support families in whatever way necessary. Service Navigators assist individuals with disabilities and their families in accessing supports, and services, with navigating the service system and by facilitating opportunities that will enhance their lives. Services are provided in a manner consistent with the DDS Family Support Guidelines and the MCS Mission Statement. Specific responsibilities include:
Service Navigators come with a willing spirit, provide a listening ear and help to solve problems. They are your partner and ally as you interact with the complicated and sometimes overwhelming service system!
Caring for a loved one with a disability is a continuous responsibility that often leaves a caretaker in need of a break. Understanding that each family and individual is unique, respite can come in many forms and options:
Oftentimes valuable support to families can be in the form of financial assistance. This assistance must be related to the individual’s disabilities. Service Navigators meet with families to discuss their needs, and stipends can be provided within the limits of available funding. All expenditures are required to comply with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDS) Family Support Guidelines.
The primary goal of Intensive Flexible Family Support programs is to help families with one or more members with a disability who are experiencing significant challenges that are causing the child/individual to be at risk of out-of-home placement. This is a time-limited (6 to 12 months) and goal-oriented service providing more focused and intensive supports in response to identified areas of need and difficulty, and to build family capacity to support their child at home. The individual must be between 3 and 22 years of age and living in the family home.
provide the following enhanced and specialized services using a family-centered approach: