Transition Services offered through Multicultural Community Services (MCS) are available for individuals ages eighteen to twenty-two. This is the period of time when families are moving from school supports to lifelong adult services. It is during this transition period that families begin to experience significant changes in services, eligibility, regulations, and a myriad of other policies. In an effort to assist and guide families through these changes MCS, in conjunction with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), has developed a set of fact sheets relating to a selection of transition topics such as formal testing, SSI and other benefits, age of majority, employment, transportation, independent living and the 688 process. Fact sheets are available at the MCS Family Support Centers in Springfield, Westfield and Holyoke, and on the MCS website at www.mcsnet.org.
Within this program families have the opportunity to receive information and referral support from an MCS Service Navigator. The Navigator will assist families as needed in accessing generic supports such as Social Security, MassHealth, fuel assistance, PCA services, or other relevant public programs. In addition to general and transition-specific information and referral, this program may also provide limited funding for families to access supports such as individualized respite services, assistance with medical expenses not covered by insurance, the purchase of adaptive equipment, access to transportation services or short term emergency needs. Prioritization for this funding is determined by the DDS area office through an assessment of needs and the availability of funding.
MCS offers two support groups for transition age individuals and families living in the Holyoke/Chicopee area. (Please see the DDS Holyoke/Chicopee Area Municipality listing.) 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.
MCS is also a qualified provider of the following services for transition age individuals and their families:
Group outings within this program are available to individuals eighteen to twenty-two living in the Springfield/Westfield area. (Please see the DDS Springfield/Westfield Area Municipality listing.) Trips or activities are available during school vacations and minimally once per month throughout the year. Activities are geared towards the interests and talents of young adults and have included zip lining, indoor activities, whale watching, camping, and visiting Howe Caverns.
Individualized respite provides families the opportunity to identify a person of their choice to provide respite or they may utilize an MCS staff person to provide this service. Respite can occur in the family’s home or in the community, and the times are flexible as determined by the family.