Executive Office of Health and Human Services
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
Tel: (617) 748-2000
Toll Free: 1-800-548-4802 (within Mass. only)
Adoption & Foster Care: 1-800-KIDS-508 (543-7508)
Child at Risk Hotline: Toll Free: 1-800-792-5200 (within Mass. only)
Ombudsman Office: (617) 748-2444
Teen Peer Line 1-800-238-7868 (within Mass. only)
Fax: (617) 261-7435
The Department of Social Services, a state agency within the Executive Office of Human Services, created by Chapter 552, Acts of 1978, provides social services to children and families. It also receives and responds to reports of child abuse.
Birth to 18, however child in the custody of the Department can remain open until their 22nd birthday.
o Outreach Program - Adolescent Outreach Workers provide intensive, individualized skills assessment and training to youth ages 14-21 in out-of-home placement. Adolescents gain information about healthy relationships, permanency planning, and are supported in developing a positive self-image. For referral to the Adolescent Outreach Program, please contact your social worker.
o The Discharge Support Program - provides financial and Outreach support to youth ages 18-21 who are discharging from DSS to independent living. Youth may be eligible for funding to assist with first and last months’ rent, security deposit, and initial utilities charges.Youth may call (617) 748-2421 or (617) 748-2232 to find out more about this program.
o Youth Advisory Board - The DSS Youth Advisory Board is comprised of youth in out-of-home placement who voice ideas, concerns and recommendations to DSS regarding services, policy and practice.
o Teen Living Program offers support and guidance to young women age 13-19 who are dealing with pregnancy and parenting issues, while allowing the teen families to remain intact. A collaboration between the Department of Social Services and the Department of Transitional Assistance, this initiative provides pregnant and parenting teens a safe and caring environment in which to develop the skills necessary to make healthy choices for themselves and their children, and to lead independent and productive lives. For more information regarding the Teen Living Program, visit the Department of Transitional Assistance at www.state.ma.us/dta or call the Department of Social Services at (617) 748-2400.
o Youth Mentoring Program - DSS mentors provide guidance, encouragement, support, positive role modeling and community connections to help youth succeed in their transition to adulthood. To be an adult mentor or to make a referral to the mentoring program, please call 617-748-2421.
o Teen Peer Line This phone line enables youth to confidentially ask questions about department policy, foster care review, education, and scholarship information, housing, support services, upcoming events, etc.. Youth can request to speak directly to a peer. Call 1-800-238-7868, weekdays 9 to 5.
o William Warren Scholarship Program The William Warren Scholarship Program provides scholarships for educational and vocational programs to any youth under age 25 who was in the care/custody of DSS for a minimum of one year. Scholarships range from $250 to $4000. Both current and former DSS youth are eligible. For information, call (617) 748-2232.
· Education Assistance
o Adoptive Child Tuition Waiver Program The Adoptive Child Tuition Waiver Program provides free undergraduate tuition to adoptive children at any one of Massachusetts' 29 state and community colleges and universities. Approved by the Board of Higher Education in June of 2000, this initiative provides state college tuition waivers for all children whose adoption was sponsored by DSS. To learn more about the Adoptive Tuition Waiver Program or to apply, please contact the Department of Social Services at (617) 748-2267.
o Foster Child Tuition Waiver Program The Foster Child Tuition Waiver Program provides free undergraduate tuition to foster children at any one of Massachusetts' 29 state and community colleges and universities. Approved by the Board of Higher Education in June of 2000, this initiative provides state college undergraduate or certificate tuition waivers for current and former foster children and youth under a DSS sponsored Guardianship. Youth must be between the ages of 17 and 24, have not returned home, and were in foster care as a result of a Care and Protection petition. To apply, please send a copy of your birth certificate with a letter requesting the waiver that includes your name, social security number, date of birth, mailing address, and signature to The Foster Child Tuition Waiver Program at DSS 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210. For more information please contact Alison Scott at 617-748-2228.
o Foster Child Grant Program Foster Child Grant Program provides grant monies for youth attending public and private post-secondary school full time in a degree granting program. Eligible youth were in the custody of DSS via a Care and Protection Petition and left care at age 18 without returning home or being adopted. Youth must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and a Statement of Eligibility to qualify. For more information regarding this program please call 617-748-2309.
o DSS Education and Training Voucher Program The DSS Education and Training Voucher Program provides up to $5000 per academic year for post-secondary educational or vocational training programs, including colleges and trade schools and related costs of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation, day care) as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965. Eligible youth were in DSS custody and adopted after attaining the age or 16 or were in DSS custody until age 18 and unable to return home. Youth must apply to the program before they turn 21 and can use the ETV Program until their 23rd birthday. For further information please contact DSS at 617-748-2309.
o Child at Risk Hotline - The Department of Social Services (DSS) is the Massachusetts state agency responsible for protecting children from child abuse and neglect. To report abuse or neglect, call the Child-at-Risk Hotline anytime of the day or night at 800-792-5200.
o Rape Crisis Center - Greater Boston Area
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
99 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Hotline: (800) 841-8371
Office: (617) 492-8306
TTY: (617) 492-6434
o Safelink - SafeLink is the first Massachusetts statewide domestic violence hotline and is operated by Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc. in Boston. The SafeLink toll-free number is 1-877-785-2020. SafeLink is answered by trained advocates 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and TTY (1-877-521-2601). It also has the ability to provide multilingual translation in more than 140 languages.
Regional Office serving Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop
All casework is handled and social services are provided in each of 29 area offices. This office also serves as the point of contact for the Office of Children, Youth and Families.
45 Spruce Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Fax: (617) 884-0215