Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts
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The following agencies and organizations may provide further advice, assistance or information.

Massachusetts State Government

State Legislature 

Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) 

Children's Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) 

Department of Children and Family (DCF) 

Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC) 

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 

Department of Mental Health (DMH) 

Department of Developmental Services (DDS) 

Department of Public Health (DPH) 

Department of Youth Services (DYS) 

Department of Correction (DOC) 

Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) 


Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) 

Massachusetts Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative 

Massachusetts Interagency Restraint and Seclusion Prevention Initiative 

Legal Resources

Mass. Bills and Laws 

Mass. Trial Court Law Libraries 

Supreme Judicial Court Reporter of Decisions  Massachusetts judicial decisions online at no cost. is a Massachusetts legal aid website to help individuals find practical information about legal rights and locate legal aid services. is a Massachusetts legal aid website for advocates and attorneys. The material on this website tends to be more complex than that on

Legal Representation/Advice

Center for Public Counsel Services (CPCS)  CPCS is a fifteen-member body established to oversee the provision of legal representation in nearly 300,000 cases annually to indigent persons in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Committee also oversees the operation of a state department comprised of 126 public attorneys, as well as administrators and administrative staff, which provide legal services of various types to indigent parties.

Disability Law Center (DLC)  DLC is a private, non-profit public interest law firm providing free legal assistance and information to people with disabilities throughout Massachusetts. It is the Protection and Advocacy agency for Massachusetts and as such, it is responsible for protecting and advocating for the rights of Massachusetts residents with disabilities

Legal Advocacy and Resource Center (LARC)  LARC operates a free legal hotline to help low-income Massachusetts residents with legal problems by providing legal information and advice, and by making referrals to legal and social service agencies.

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)  GBLS is the primary provider of free, non-criminal legal assistance in the Greater Boston area. GBLS assists low-income individuals, families, and community-based organizations with a wide range of poverty law matters.

Prisoners' Legal Services (PLS)  PLS provides free civil legal assistance to poor people incarcerated in Massachusetts prisons and jails.

Center for Public Representation (CPR) CPR is a non-profit public interest law firm providing mental health law and disability law services.

Children's Law Center of Massachusetts (CLCM) The mission of the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts is to promote and secure equal justice and to maximize opportunity for low-income children and youth by providing quality advocacy and legal services.

Mass. Advocates for Children (MAC) MAC is a private non-profit organization dedicated to being an independent and effective voice for children who face significant barriers to equal educational and life opportunities. MAC works to overcome these barriers by changing conditions for many children, while also helping one child at a time.

Health Law Advocates (HLA) HLA provides free legal assistance to income-eligible individuals who live or work in Massachusetts and are having difficulty obtaining health care or insurance coverage. HLA also provides help to consumers who have incurred medical debt due to wrongful denials by payors, inadequate insurance screenings by providers, or unfair or deceptive trade practices by payors or providers.

Fair Employment Project (FEP) FEP counsels Massachusetts workers of limited means about their rights on the job and the legal process. It collaborates with other organizations to provide affordable representation or other services, when possible.

Youth Advocacy Division (YAD) YAD (part of CPCS) ensures that every child from an indigent family in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation that incorporates a Youth Development Approach, resulting in fair treatment in court. YAD works with each client to achieve both legal and life success.

Massachusetts Advocacy Organizations

MPOWER M-POWER is a member run organization of mental health consumers and current and former psychiatric patients. M-POWER advocates for political and social change within the mental health system, the community, city and statewide. 

The Transformation Center The Transformation Center is a peer-operated center with  a mental health focus on wellness and life recovery through dialogue, education, systems change advocacy, and peer support. The Center offers training for Peer Specialist Certification, Leadership Academy, WRAP Facilitation, Recovery Conversations for Providers and more. 

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) Massachusetts FRCs are a statewide network of community-based providers offering multi-cultural parenting programs, support groups, early childhood services, information and referral resources and education for families whose children range in age from birth to 18 years of age. A FRC is located in each of the 14 Massachusetts counties to provide easy access to information and assistance related to health care, safety, employment training, education and peer support. 

Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) The Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston supports the rights of children and adults with disabilities to participate in all aspects of the community. As practitioners, researchers, and teachers, ICI partners with individuals, families, and communities to advocate for personal choice, self-determination, and social and economic justice. 

Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) MOAR's mission is to organize recovering individuals, families and friends into a collective voice to educate the public about the value of recovery from alcohol and other addictions. 

Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PAL)  PAL promotes a strong voice for families of children and adolescents with mental health needs. PAL advocates for supports, treatment and policies that enable families to live in their communities in an environment of stability and respect.

Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN)  FCSN provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities. We are committed to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities.

Health Care for All (HCFA)   HCFA is building a movement of empowered people and communities with the goal of creating a health care system that is responsive to the needs of all people, particularly the most vulnerable. Health Care For All is dedicated to making quality health care a right of all people.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - Mass. Chapter  NAMI-Massachusetts works to improve the quality of life both for people with mental illnesses and for their families.

Massachusetts Families Organizing For Change (MFOFC) MFOFC provides sustained advocacy and leadership training in pursuit of high quality, individualized community support and service options, including family support, for people with disabilities and their families.

Autism Housing Pathways (AHP)  AHP is a family-driven, membership-based organization serving individuals and families in Massachusetts impacted by autism and other developmental disabilities. AHP has the following core goals: building the capacity of families to find or create housing solutions for their family members with disabilities; improving the professional development of direct support staff; conducting research on the housing needs and resources of the Massachusetts autism community; and building the capacity of the housing sector to meet the residential needs of individuals with autism.

Mass. Association for Mental Health (MAMH) MAMH is a private, non-profit tax-exempt Massachusetts corporation based in Boston, MA and a leading voice for the creation of services for people with mental illnesses.

Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC) The MCC is a non-profit organization whose membership includes over 15,000 Massachusetts residents who have mental illness and the 32 recovery and rehabilitation centers called "Clubhouses" that help to sustain them.

Recovery Learning Communities (RLCs)  RLCs are consumer-run networks of self help/peer support, information and referral, advocacy and training activities. Training in recovery concepts and tools, advocacy forums and social and recreational events are all part of what goes on in a RLC.

The Truth About JRC  This website provides the opportunity for anyone concerned about the Judge Rotenberg Center to post comments. Current and former employees, students, family members and interested advocates are invited to post information, ask questions and participate in discussions. Comments can be anonymous if people wish.

The Consortium  The Consortium is focused on community–based approaches to meet the needs of people with disabilities, seeking to create and influence positive changes in the environment that improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

SPEDWatch  SPEDWatch is a special education watchdog group building a civil rights movement to remove the systemic obstacles that deny schoolchildren their special education rights.

The Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC)  CMHC is a coalition of families, advocates, health care providers, educators, and consumers from across Massachusetts dedicated to comprehensive reform of the children’s mental health system. The Coalition is led by five partner organizations - the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Health Care For All, and Health Law Advocates - and includes more than 160 supporting organizations across Massachusetts.

MassMen  MassMen helps working-age men from across Massachusetts find information, discover tools, make decisions, and take action to address issues related to mental, emotional, and relational health. It is a mental health screening program funded by the Department of Public Health.

Mass. Coalition for Suicide Prevention  The Mass. Coalition for Suicide Prevention is a broad-based inclusive alliance of suicide prevention advocates, including public and private agency representatives, policy makers, suicide survivors, mental health and public health consumers and providers and concerned citizens dedicated to working together to reduce the incidence of suicide and self-harm in the Commonwealth.

National Advocacy Organizations

Center for Law and Education (CLE) CLE works to make the right of all students to quality education a reality throughout the nation and to help enable communities to address their own public education problems effectively, with an emphasis on assistance to low-income students and communities.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of people with mental illnesses through changes in policy and law.

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA)  NARPA is an independent organization of survivors of mental health institutions, advocates, civil rights activists, mental health workers and lawyers. Its fundamental mission is to empower people who have been labeled mentally disabled so that they may learn to independently exercise their rights.

National Consumer Law Center  National Consumer Law Center is an advocacy organization for low-income consumer justice and an expert on low-income consumer issues.

National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment  National Consumer Law Center is a research group meant to promote recovery by understanding stigma and promoting empowerment.

National Disability Rights Network NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

National Empowerment Center (NEC) The NEC is a national technical assistance center for mental health consumers and believes in a strong model of individual recovery.

The National Health Law Program (NHeLP)  NHeLP is a national public interest law center that provides specialized assistance on indigent health care matters to attorneys and other advocates representing low-income clients throughout the United States. Services include litigation assistance, research, training, publications, legislative and administrative representation.

National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse  The Clearinghouse is a consumer-run national technical assistance center serving the mental health consumer movement. The Clearinghouse connects individuals to self-help and advocacy resources, and offers expertise to self-help groups and other peer-run services for mental health consumers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)  SAMHSA works to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on U.S. communities.

Family Voices  Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families--including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity-in order to improve healthcare services and policies for children.

Research Centers

SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)  NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 350 substance abuse and mental health interventions. NREPP was developed to help the public learn more about evidence-based interventions that are available for implementation.

Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center The Center at U. Mass. Medical School conducts research to enhance services, improve the quality of life, and promote recovery for people with behavioral health conditions.

Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation The Center is a research, training, and service organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons who have psychiatric disabilities. The Center's mission is to increase the likelihood that they can achieve these goals by improving the effectiveness of people, programs, and service systems using strategies based on the core values of recovery and rehabilitation.

Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities The Temple University Collaborative is a National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center seeking both to broaden understanding about community integration and to improve opportunities for individuals with psychiatric disabilities to participate more fully in community life.

Center on Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilites TransCen identifies, researches, and disseminates evidence-based practices that contribute to successful employment for youth with disabilities making the transition from school to adult life. TransCen partners with the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rehabilitation Research Training Center.

Pathways Research and Training Center (RTC) The RTC for Pathways to Positive Futures aims to improve the lives of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions through rigorous research and effective training and dissemination. Their work is guided by the perspectives of young people and their families, and based in a positive development framework.

Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities (VCU-RRTC) The VR-RRTC is a national center that builds the capacity of the public vocational rehabilitation (VR) program to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. This is achieved through providing state VR agencies and others working in this area with policy research, training, and technical assistance. The VR-RRTC also functions as a national hub for policy and operations data pertaining to public employment services for people with disabilities.

UMass Medical School, Transitions Research & Training Center TRTC’s mission is to promote the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions. The website also has Spanish language publications at

National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities is a collaborative research and advocacy project that aims to support parents with disabilities. Housed at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University, it combines research expertise and first-hand experience to create a comprehensive resource for a variety of stakeholders, including parents, family members, clinicians, policymakers and disabled parents.

Websites with Specific Resources

Coming Home Directory  The Coming Home Directory is a compilation of services available to ex-offenders returning to or living in communities in Greater Boston.

Durga's Tool Box -- Care Mapping  This blog describes the process of "care mapping." Care mapping is a tool and a process that the author created to stay organized and communicate with her son’s care team, including teachers, friends, and family. It’s a snapshot that shows the people, people, programs and resources that her family relies on to remain healthy and strong. Care mapping is an easy way to show a lot of important information without having to give a long explanation.

Psych Ward Reviews  Psych Ward Reviews is a review blog where people can share patient reviews of psychiatric hospitals.

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