Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services

Published by
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service

Welfare/Social Services: Assistance

S4 Department of Children and Families

S5 Office of the Child Advocate

S6 Department of Transitional Assistance

S7 DTA Assistance Line

S8 F.O.R. Families

S9 Supplemental Security Income

S4 Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
600 Washington Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
Tel: 617-748-2000
Toll Free: 1-800-548-4802 (within Mass. only)
Adoption & Foster Care: 1-800-KIDS-508 (543-7508) (within Mass. only)
Child at Risk Hotline: Toll Free: 1-800-792-5200 (within Mass. only)
Ombudsman Office: 617-748-2444
Parental Stress Line Toll Free: 1-800-632-8188 (within Mass. only)
Teen Peer Line 1-800-238-7868 (within Mass. only)
Fax: 617-261-7435

The Department of Children and Families, within the Executive Office of Human Services, was created by Chapter 552, Acts of 1978 and provides social services to children and families. It receives and responds to reports of child abuse. Services include adoption, counseling, day care, emergency shelter, family planning, foster care, homemaker and housekeeping (limited capacity), services to women-in-transition, and information and referral. They are provided either directly by DCF staff or through private agencies with DCF contracts. Sliding fee scale services are available for income-eligible individuals. All casework is handled and social services are provided in each of the area offices. Call DCF central office, or visit their website for referral to a local office. This office also serves as the point of contact for the Office of Children, Youth and Families.

S5 Office of the Child Advocate
Department of Children and Families
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburton Place, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-979-8374
Complaint Line: 617-979-8360
Toll Free: 1-866-790-3690
Fax: 617-979-8379

The goal of the Child Advocate Office is to ensure each child involved with welfare, juvenile justice, or a state service agency receives the services in a timely and respectful manner

S6 Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Tel: 617-348-8400
Food Stamps Toll Free: 1-877-382-2363

It is the responsibility of the Department of Transitional Assistance to determine eligibility for and provide financial assistance and services to people in need. The following are some of the programs available to those meeting the criteria for public assistance: AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), E.A.E.D.C. (Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children), homeless and refugee assistance, and food stamps. For telephone numbers and a description of services provided, see below. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is a federally subsidized assistance program for dependent children who are deprived of support from a parent for any of the following reasons: divorce, desertion, separation, incapacity, incarceration, or the unemployment of a parent. The program provides cash benefits, medical care, and social services. AFDC recipients may register with the Employment Services Program through which educational and employment opportunities are available, and benefits such as transportation and childcare are offered. Applications are processed by the local offices of the Department of Transitional Assistance. Emergency Aid to Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) is a state-funded program providing cash assistance and medical benefits to individuals over 65 awaiting SSI, disabled individuals and the caretakers of disabled individuals, and families who are ineligible for AFDC due to specific reasons. This program, enacted 10/13/91, replaced the General Relief program. For eligibility information contact a local office of the Department of Transitional Assistance. The food stamp program provides low-income households with coupons for the purchase of food. The U.S. Department of Agriculture establishes guidelines for the program, which is administered at the state level by the Department of Transitional Assistance. Recipients receive an allotment of food coupons each month, based on personal income of all members of the household, the family size, and other qualifying factors. Applications are supplied by and taken at the local transitional assistance office. Proof of income and Social Security number is required, as well as other necessary verification. Questions about food stamps can be answered by one's local Transitional Assistance office.

S7 DTA Assistance Line
Department of Transitional Assistance
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Toll Free: 1-877-382-2363

This office provides assistance guiding clients to services offered, enables callers to reach a case manager, reach the fraud hotline as well as speak to a person (8:15 am to 4:45 pm Monday through Friday) about domestic violence issues.

S8 F.O.R. Families (Follow-Up, Outreach and Referral)
Bureau of Family Health and Nutrition
Department of Public Health
250 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-624-5913
Fax: 617-624-5927

To meet the needs of transitional assistance FDC recipients who are preparing to leave or who have already left, the Dept. of Public Health has teamed up with the Dept. of Transitional Assistance to work with many local, state and federal agencies and program. It will help applicants fill out forms required by government agencies, assist in solving problems recipients may face in getting services, and is a central place that can help find other programs and services available to recipients and their families. Services the program will assist with include fuel assistance, health insurance enrollment, health care, access to food, housing, employment, transportation and child care, as well as other programs in the applicant's area.

S9 Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Administration
10 Causeway Street, Room 148
Boston, MA 02222
Toll Free: 1-877-863-1128
Toll Free: 1-800-772-1213
TTY Toll Free: 1-800-325-0778

This program is administered by the Social Security Administration. However, it is financed from general revenues, not from Social Security contributions. Under this program, the state supplements federal funds to provide aid to qualified individuals. Specific requirements for eligibility are as follows: categorical eligibility (aged over 65, blind, or disabled); residence; citizenship or lawful alien status; limited income; and limited resources. SSI recipients also receive medical assistance through the Medicaid program and may be eligible for federal Food Stamp benefits. For information on eligibility and level of benefits, contact a local Social Security office.

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