From Our Executive Director: Collaboration Strengthens the Federations’ Services to Families
Parents often reach out to the Federation through our call center. Some examples:
“I think my child’s school is not providing all the services it should.” Or, “My son is transitioning from high school, and we’re unsure of the next steps.”
Alternatively, “My child has a combination of health and learning issues. I’m overwhelmed by decisions I need to make.”
The common question is: “Can the Federation help?” The answer is: We can!
It starts with our staff’s knowledge and experience. However, if we are not the expert or right choice for services needed, we certainly connect the parent to someone who is.
In its nearly 45 years, the Federation has collaborated with many agencies – mostly in Massachusetts but also across the country. Those connections magnify the help we can provide to families … something that our funders and donors can be proud of.
For example, a parent of a young woman with Down syndrome called to say her daughter had left high school with no plans for further services. The family had fallen between the cracks. Our staffer connected them with the commonwealth’s Department of Developmental Services. A plan was quickly in place.
Touchingly, that parent left a voice message at 9 p.m. that day, saying, “We finally have the right connections and we could not have done it without the Federation.”
I am impressed that the Federation’ reputation goes beyond Massachusetts. We are a national leader and a model agency. One staff member told me about a grandmother in Virginia who contacted us concerning her speech-delayed grandson. The grandmother could not locate a speech therapist in her rural area. She had heard about the Federation through webinars. “Can you help?” Our program leader connected the woman with an organization in Virginia. The boy soon received a speech device, and, in an email to us, the grandmother expressed her gratitude for that connection.
I pause every time I say this, because it is such a cliché. It does take a village of knowledgeable professionals, collaborative organizations, parents, schools and others to ensure special-needs children receive the services they need.
I am grateful for my staff’s knowledge and the connections they have developed. I am also so appreciative of the thanks we receive from so many families and professionals.