Family Support Services

Positive Parenting Resource Center

United Arc - Positive Parenting

The Positive Parenting Resource Center provides services and support families headed by parents with cognitive challenges, intellectual limitations or learning disabilities.

The following services are available:

  • Individualized Parent Support — This includes home-based parent education, parent skills training, case management, service advocacy and family support.
  • Parent Education and Support Groups — Sessions focus on child development, parent/child communication, health and wellness, family literacy, basic household and financial stability, positive discipline and limit setting, safety factors and prevention of abuse and neglect, and access of community resources. Most groups have a target parent population, i.e. parents with young children or parents of teens. Groups have educational themes and draw from a primary curriculum such as The Nurturing Parent or The Family Game. Parent education and support groups are currently being held in the Franklin and Hampshire Counties and the North Quabbin area.
  • Supervised Visitation — Available to DCF referred families whose children live in foster care arrangements.
  • Intensive Structured Supported Family Living — Available to DCF referred families who need a broadly supportive environment for reunification of parents and children or to attain stability in family life. The United Arc owns an apartment building with five apartments available for families and two adjacent apartments that house staff offices, group meeting space and living quarters for an on-site supportive neighbor.
  • Consultation — Training workshops and consultation are available upon request to other agencies or groups wishing to serve this population.
  • Mentoring Support — Family Friends volunteers are matched with families to provide additional support and guidance to both children and parents.
  • Grandparent Support — Networking, support groups and individualized home visits are available to grandparents that have primary care giving responsibility for raising a grandchild. Download the brochure.
  • Affiliations — The Positive Parenting Resource Center periodically sponsors trainings and workshops as part of a regional Coalition for Supporting Parents with Cognitive Challenges. Arc staff members are leaders within the larger supported parenting movement, serving on the Board and committees of The Association for Successful Parenting (TASP).

Download a copy of the Positive Parenting brochure (PDF).

Eligibility and Referral

Positive Parenting services have been funded through a variety of sources including state funding from the Department of Children and Families, Children’s Trust Fund, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and private grants. Any family in which the parent is identified as having an intellectual or functional disability may be referred to the Positive Parenting Program. Available services will be contingent upon referral source and overall availability of funding.  

Contact Information:

For more information about the Positive Parenting Resource Center, the supported parenting movement or TASP contact:

Susan Jones, Positive Parenting Director
413-774-5558 x 1054

Leslie Kinney, Director of Family Support
413-774-5558 x 1003