Programs for Children Aged 18+


The Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) oversees the state's substance abuse and gambling prevention and treatment services, including several crucial programs for adolescents and young adults.


Caseworker Salaries and Benefits funds salaries for caseworkers at the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Even as SNAP (formerly food-stamps) caseloads have grown in the past decade, funding for caseworkers has been reduced causing severe increases in the number of cases each caseworker administers.


This line item funds the administration and operations of the Division of Housing Stabilization (DHS) in the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Funding pays for DHS personnel including central management, support personnel and the caseworkers who determine whether families are eligible for homeless shelter and housing assistance overseen by the Division.


The Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA) monitors and reviews the efforts of schools and school districts to improve academic achievement. It acts as an auditor within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to review school districts across the state and report these reviews to policymakers and the public.


Funding from this line item supports a variety of services for children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbance and serious mental illness. Services are provided in residential facilities and through other community-based programs, and may be coordinated with services provided by other state agencies. This line item also funds the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project.


Child Welfare Training Institute Retained Revenue funds training opportunities for employees of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The program is funded through federal reimbursements received under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.


The Children's Trust Fund (CTF) is partly funded through this line item. The CTF funds and evaluates the work of over 100 family support and parenting education programs throughout Massachusetts working to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting parents and strengthening families. CTF, a quasi government agency, also receives funding from its non-profit arm Friends of Children's Trust Fund.


The Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (GLBTQ Youth) is an independent state commission that advises state agencies on programs that help GLBTQ Youth.


Family Resource Centers provide resources and information to families about state and local services. The centers make it easier for families to access many different public services in one place.


Dental Health Services funds oral health programs for children and adults through the Department of Public Health’s Office of Oral Health – targeting people who have challenges accessing dental care.


The Department of Children and Family (DCF) Administration line item funds operations and clinical support services within the central, regional and area offices. Most job functions, apart from social workers, are funded through this line item, including senior administration, program and project managers, lawyers, policy evaluation, IT, trainers, budget and finance.


This line item funds lead agencies to administer Department of Children and Families (DCF) services at the regional and area level. These lead agencies do not perform direct services, but contract to local organizations.


This line item funds the administration of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) helps low-income individuals and families meet their basic needs. Administration funds operations and support services within both the central office and twenty transitional assistance offices around the state. Most job functions, apart from caseworkers, are funded through this line. Senior administration, program and project managers, lawyers, policy evaluation, IT, trainers, budget and finance, and all other support personnel are funded here.


This line item funds a variety of programs that aim to prevent domestic and sexual violence, provide support to victims, and promote positive relationship models.


Domestic Violence Specialists funds the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Domestic Violence Unit which provides services to victims of domestic violence who are on public assistance. This unit, established in 1999, consists of a specialist in each DTA area office.


The state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax break provided by the Commonwealth to lower-income workers in order to increase the after-tax rewards to work. It is available only to tax filers with earned income and provides benefits primarily to workers with children.


The Executive Office of Education houses the Information Technology Office, which supplies technology assistance to agencies that interact with schools and school aged children from early education and care through Higher Education.


The Education Technology Program provides funding to support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s data collection and analysis activities. This program helps provide staffing to support data analysis of information from schools and districts across the state for a variety of uses, including reporting data related to federal and other grants.


When youth under the age of 18 commit offenses that result in a sentence to a juvenile detention facility, the state remains responsible for their education. The School Age Children in Institutional Schools and Houses of Correction program allows the state to pay for these students’ educational needs and provide supplemental services such as special education.

This funding also helps support the alignment of educational standards for youth in institutional settings with standards for all students, which can ease the reintegration of youth into traditional public schools.

Updated June 2015


Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) is a cash assistance program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Individuals eligible for EAEDC are: disabled, caring for someone who is disabled, 65 or older, in a Mass. Rehab program, and children who are not able to get TAFDC benefits.


Massachusetts is one of the few places in the U.S. that provides shelter, through its Emergency Assistance (EA) program, to all low-income homeless families who meet certain eligibility criteria. Low-income homeless families are eligible for EA shelter if they live at or below 115% of the federal poverty level and have lost their homes to fire, natural disaster, loss of income, were living in unhealthy or unsafe conditions or were forced to leave their housing because they were victims of domestic violence.


The Emergency Food Assistance Program funds four regional food banks. The Worcester County Food Bank, Greater Boston Food Bank, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank provide food to almost 900 hunger-relief programs in Massachusetts. Programs which receive food from the four food banks include pantries, soup kitchens, transitional houses, residential programs, youth and elder centers, shelters and meal sites.


The Employment Services Program (ESP) funds employment and training services for recipients of TAFDC. The program provides education, occupational skills and employment support services to clients. Administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), ESP providers contract for services throughout Massachusetts.


Family Access Centers provide resources and information to families about state and local services. The centers make it easier for families to access many different public services in one place.


Family Health Services at the Dept. of Public Health supports more than 90 family planning clinic sites across the Commonwealth, providing counseling, education, and clinical services to low-income adolescents, women, and men. It also supports the birth defects monitoring program and a poison control center at Children's Hospital.


Services for Infants and Parents (Family Support and Engagement) funds two grants administered by the Department of Early Education & Care (EEC). The Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) grant funds approximately 100 CFCE grantees across the state which deliver family support programs, parent education, and information and referrals for other comprehensive services. The Educator and Provider Support (EPS) grant funds professional development for providers including coaching and mentoring, educator planning and competency development/training.


Family Support and Stabilization supports programs and services which help families stay together. Child safety is the Department of Children and Families's (DCF) primary mission, but the department strives to keep families intact if possible.


This line item funds a mandatory biannual review by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of the case plan of each child in foster care.


Shannon Grants help fund anti-gang and youth violence prevention efforts undertaken by law enforcement, community-based organizations, and government agencies in communities throughout the Commonwealth.


Group Care Services funds the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) contracted congregate care programs, including residential and group care placements. A further provision allocates funds for intensive community-based services for children who would otherwise be placed in congregate settings.


The Healthy Families Home Visiting Program, also called Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM), provides home visits for first-time parents under the age of 21. Parents are eligible during pregnancy until their child reaches the age of three. This program has no income limit; however, priority for services is given to low-income families and parents with at-risk newborns. The program is administered by the Children's Trust Fund (CTF).


Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment for Students with Disabilities assists youth with severe intellectual disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22 so that they can take college courses through partnerships between school districts and public colleges and universities. The program aims to increase the ability of students with severe disabilities to gain the higher education, life skills, and employment experience necessary to thrive as adults.


This line item funds hospitals and other in-patient facilities operated by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). A small portion of funding from this line item supports services for children.


The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) provides both mobile and project-based vouchers to low-income renters in Massachusetts.


MassHealth CommonHealth covers children and adults with disabilities with incomes that are too high to qualify for MassHealth Standard.


The MassHealth Family Assistance program provides health insurance coverage for children with family incomes to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.


MassHealth Fee-for-Service covers payments for coverage provided to children and adults through fee-for-service arrangements with providers. Most children are covered by MassHealth Managed Care.


MassHealth Managed Care pays for health insurance coverage provided to children and adults through several types of managed care health plans: Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), Primary Care Clinician Plans (PCCs), and Accountable Care Organizations beginning in March 2018 (ACOs). Most of the close to 640,000 children enrolled in MassHealth receive coverage through one of these managed health care plans.


The Office of Child Advocate (OCA) works to ensure that every child involved with state agencies in Massachusetts is protected from harm and receives quality services. It collaborates with legislators, social workers, doctors, administrators, and other professionals to improve services to children and families and issues an annual report with recommendations for improvements.


This line item funds the Executive Office of Education, which oversees the state's educational system from early education through college.


The Postpartum Depression Pilot Program, and funding for it, was first included in the FY 2014 budget in order to address postpartum depression through community-based services.


The Probate and Family Court (PFC) oversees a wide range of family-focused legal matters, including divorce, alimony, paternity, child welfare, child custody, visitation and child support determinations. The PFC also handles "probate" matters, i.e., cases involving wills and the transfer of estates at time of death, as well as guardianship and conservatorship arrangements for minors and incapacitated adults.


Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) provides low-income families who are at risk of becoming homeless with one-time housing assistance.


The respite and family supports program is for clients of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) who are living at home with their families, in order to help with in-home care or give primary caregivers a break from caregiving.


Services for Children and Families funds foster care and adoption services for clients of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Services are delivered by organizations that partner with DCF, with the aim of providing a permanent family for every child.


The Sexual Abuse Intervention Network (SAIN) facilitates interagency cooperation in order to minimize secondary trauma to child victims of sexual abuse. The Department of Children and Families (DCF), law enforcement, child advocates and other organizations jointly assess victim's immediate needs while also facilitating prosecution.


The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program provides medical care and expert forensic evidence collection for victims of all ages. The program connects victims to rape crisis center advocates or children’s advocacy centers to assure that they are provided with social and emotional supports. The evidence collected by SANEs can be critical in the prosecution of sexual offenders. The Massachusetts SANE program is the only statewide program for all ages in the country and the pediatric component has been a model for similar efforts in other states and countries to care for child sexual assault patients.


Social Workers/Case Management provides salaries for case workers at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Funding is intended to be sufficient to maintain caseloads for all case workers at a standard level of 18 to 1 statewide.


The Special Education Circuit Breaker program reimburses local school districts for a portion of their costs for educating severely high-needs special education students. The state reimburses a portion of district costs above a certain threshold and the precise reimbursement formula changes year-to-year depending on the total amount allocated in a given year and on the level of claims statewide.


The state budget provides operating support to local housing authorities (LHAs) throughout the state. These subsidies allow LHAs to provide affordable rentals to low-income families, elderly, and people with disabilities.


Substance Abuse Family Intervention programs provides support for families of young adults with substance use concerns.


YouthWorks (formerly Summer Jobs for At-Risk Youth) is a summer and year-round jobs program for low-income and at-risk youth. Administered by the Commonwealth Corporation, YouthWorks provides job training and direct employment opportunities so that young people can explore new careers.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participation funds programs designed to increase the participation of residents eligible, but not currently signed up, to receive SNAP. The SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federal nutrition program administered by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) that helps low income residents stretch their food budget and buy healthy food.


The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, funds a nutrition benefit for low-income individuals and families. SNAP is primarily a federal entitlement program, but Massachusetts funds a small supplement through the state budget. The United States Department of Agriculture oversees SNAP at the federal level. In Massachusetts, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) administers the program.


Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits are time limited cash assistance benefits for families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy. The goal of TAFDC is to help families achieve self-sufficiency through employment. Besides cash, TAFDC benefits also include job training and assistance, education support and child care for clients who meet education/work eligibility requirements.


The Tax Break for Certain Foster Care Payments is an exemption provided by the Commonwealth to officially-approved foster parents. This tax break exempts from taxation the portion of income received from the state to help offset the costs of providing approved foster care.


The Tax Break for Child and Dependent Care Costs (officially known as the "Deduction for Business-Related Child Care Expenses") is a tax break provided by the Commonwealth to taxpayers who must pay for childcare or dependent care in order to work.


The Tax Break for Daycare Expenses (officially known as the "Exemption for Dependent Care Expenses") is a tax break provided by the Commonwealth that allows employers to pay for daycare for the children of their employees using pre-tax dollars. In general, employees and employers qualify for this tax break when a portion of an employee's total compensation package takes the form of child (or dependent adult) daycare that is provided by or is paid for by the employer.


Prospective teachers must pass the Massachusetts Test for Educational Licensure (MTEL) before becoming full time certified teachers. The tests measure both basic teaching skills and subject-area competence. Prospective teachers must pay a registration fee for these tests and the money is then used to pay for test administration.


The Teen Structured Settings Program helps support teen parents under the age of 20 who are recipients of TAFDC benefits. The program helps locate an approved placement for teens as determined by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) with support from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).


The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program funds community-based programs that are designed to prevent teen pregnancy, decrease sexually transmitted disease, delay early sexual activity, and to encourage young people to make healthy choices about relationships, sex and parenting.


This line item funds the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP), which aims to prevent people from starting to smoke and to help people quit smoking. Prevention programs are especially important for children and adolescents, since about 90 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 18. Smoking cessation programs are also important, since children whose parents smoke are affected by second hand smoke and are more likely to start smoking themselves.


DCF Transitional Employment Program (Roca) line item uses revenue collected from program participants to fund the transitional employment program run by Roca, Inc., an organization serving the most disenfranchised young people ages 17-24 in the communities of Chelsea, Revere and East Boston.


The Dept. of Developmental Services Turning 22 program funds services for eligible young adults with disabilities who have graduated from special education. This line item pays only for a share of services provided during the transition year in which the young adult turns 22.


The Mass. Commission for the Blind Turning 22 program funds services for eligible young blind adults who have graduated from special education. This line item pays only for the share of services provided during the transition year in which the young adult turns 22.


The Mass. Rehabilitation Commission Turning 22 program funds services for eligible young adults with disabilities who have graduated from special education. This line item pays only for the share of services provided during the transition year in which the young adult turns 22.


The Universal Immunization Program funds the purchase and distribution of vaccines to children and some adults. Thanks to the program, Massachusetts ranks among the top states for pediatric immunization rates.


The YouthBuild line item provides state support for the 11 YouthBuild programs in Massachusetts. YouthBuild combines job training in construction related fields, community service, and academic instruction for students between the ages of 16 and 24 working towards their high school diploma. Participants in YouthBuild tend to come from low-income backgrounds and face significant challenges outside of the classroom in successfully completing their education.

Subscribe to Programs for Children Aged 18+