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Maine Youth and Family Organizations
Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine, Inc. provides support services for adoptive and foster parents, and kinship providers. AFFM provides the training, guidance, knowledge, and resources needed to handle complex issues as families open their hearts and homes to children. The services are for all adoptive and foster families who are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or have DHHS approval to adopt. Special services are available to kinship providers. Child welfare is dependent upon a myriad of state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Decisions concerning families and innocent children are rarely easy, and are usually fraught with highly emotional issues. AFFM is dedicated to assisting families to help children find the security they deserve.
The Mission of the Autism Society of Maine is to provide education and resources to support the valued lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
The purposes of the Autism Society of Maine are:
- To promote and advocate for the general welfare of individuals with autism;
- To promote family and community support;
- To help the community develop a better understanding of the problems of individuals with autism;
- To further the advancement of all ameliorative and preventive study, research, therapy, care and cure of individuals with autism;
- To promote the education, training, and vocational opportunities of individuals with autism and to foster the development of integrated care on their behalf;
- To promote the establishment of adequate diagnostic, therapeutic, educational and recreational facilities for individuals with autism;
- To serve as a clearing house for gathering and disseminating information regarding persons with autism and act as a public information and referral service for autism spectrum disorders;
- To further the education and training of parents and professional personnel working with, educating, and caring for individuals with autism.
G.E.A.R. (Gaining Empowerment Allows Results) Parent Network is a program of Crisis & Counseling Centers. G.E.A.R. Parent Network provides an opportunity for parents of children with special needs to support each other and work together, family to family.
G.E.A.R. was started by parents of children with behavioral health needs, who recognized their need for support.
G.E.A.R. empowers parents of children with behavioral health needs by helping them build on the identified strengths in their families and by providing safe and supportive avenues for emotional support and problem solving.
Each of the G.E.A.R. Parent Network’s Regional Parent Support Coordinators and the Program Director personally understand the joys and challenges of caring for a child with special needs and is available by phone for further information or support.
Crisis & Counseling Centers is a private, non-profit social service agency licensed by the State of Maine as a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. Many of Crisis & Counseling’s clinicians are dually trained in mental health and substance abuse treatment. The agency’s clinical services are located in central Maine and its parent support program serves parents throughout the state.
Maine Alliance of Family Organizations (MAFO) is a statewide alliance that formed to better serve families of children with disabilities and special health care needs, and to strengthen family voice. Family concerns, needs and voice are foundational to everything they do. They believe families are the primary decision makers regarding care of their children, and they promote the family role in influencing policies and procedures governing care for all children.
Member Organizations include:
- Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine
- Autism Society of Maine
- G.E.A.R. Parent Network
- Learning Disabilities Association of Maine
- Maine Parent Federation
- National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maine
- Southern Maine Parent Awareness
To view their flier, click here: MAFO Flier
The Maine Autism Alliance was founded on the premise that people with autism should have a quality of life worth celebrating. There is no typical person with autism; their strengths and weaknesses, skills and struggles vary greatly, just as in the “neurotypical” community. The Alliance was created to help people on the autism spectrum and their families. The Alliance will offer social/activity groups for youth, teens and adults.
Autism doesn’t just affect the individual; it affects the entire family. The Alliance will offer a variety of support groups to facilitate empowerment and reduce the isolation that can occur. MAA will conduct parent seminars that focus on ways to enrich the incredible experience of raising a child with autism: topics will vary to meet the needs of the child and family.
MAA provides educational opportunities for those in (or interested in) the autism community. Parents, Teachers, para-professionals, therapists, caregivers, case managers, respite care providers and students are just a few examples of those who benefit from our educational opportunities. Workshops, Trainings and the Maine Autism Alliance Conference are conducted with these needs in mind.
MAA believes in community service as an avenue of educating all Maine citizens about autism. It has been said, “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism“. Each person is a unique individual, to be celebrated for their strengths and the ability to contribute to society. It’s with this mindset that we strive to build a wholesome relationship for our children to be better understood and the families that love and support them.
Maine Parent Federation is a private non-profit organization that provides information, support and training to parents and professionals through numerous grant funded projects. In existence since 1984, MPF is physically located in Farmingdale, Maine, but assistance is available on a statewide basis. Through its projects, individuals can receive information about: specific disabilities, parenting issues, education, services, support groups and other resources available to assist families and professionals within the home, school and community. MPF services are offered at no cost to parents and professionals.
NAMI Maine provides support, education, and advocacy on behalf of people with mental illness and their families. For more information on NAMI Maine’s support groups and about NAMI, please click on the NAMI Maine website link below. Support groups are available across the state, our help line responds to thousands of calls each year, and we provide education about mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse issues to all who need it. We work locally and state-wide to make sure that people with mental illness and their families can find the help when and where they need it.
SMPA is based in Sanford Maine. They are a non-profit family organization dedicated to providing information, referral, support and education to families who have children and youth with special needs throughout Maine. Southern Maine Parent Awareness helps families expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life for their children and young adults with disabilities.
The mission of YMM states: Youth Move Maine supports youth and adults in building the skills, partnerships, policies and practices essential to making sure all youth are connected, resilient, growing and included in the decisions that impact their lives.
YMM is an organization of youth and young adults who have participated in service systems and utilized natural supports to work through challenging times in our lives. YMM works in collaboration with families, system leaders, professionals and community members to make positive, lasting change in systems, communities and their own lives based on the unique knowledge and perspective that youth and young adults bring to the table.
At Youth MOVE Maine, space is created where young people can support each other, learn and grow in the direction of their dreams, and discover and exercise their own unique style of leadership. As an organization of people who have experienced life’s challenges, their work is about supporting one another, having a voice, and partnering and advocating within systems and services that are intended to help people so that communities and systems are better equipped to support youth and young adults.
2-1-1 Maine is a comprehensive statewide directory of over 8,000 health and human services available in Maine. The toll free 2-1-1 hotline connects callers to trained call specialists who can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Finding the answers to health and human services questions and locating resources is as quick and easy as dialing 2-1-1 or visiting the 2-1-1 website.
ALLTECH provides face-to-face and virtual consultation, assessment, professional development, and technical assistance to support the development of knowledge and skills for individuals who have disabilities, their families and educators, service providers, employers and health/disability-related agencies. Our unique and comprehensive array of services is surpassed only by our passionate commitment to providing quality support in the following areas:
- Assistive technology (AT)
- Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)
- Universal Design (UD)
- Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)
- Computer Accessibility
ALLTECH serves individuals with a wide range of disabilities including persons who have cognitive, communication, motor, and vision difficulties. We can come to you directly or virtually, as ALLTECH is skilled in distance technologies and can provide some services remotely. We provide high quality and timely professional services. In spring, 2009 ALLTECH joined forces with Spurwink’s Professional Development Center.
The Brain Injury Information Network of Maine is a partnership of organizations working together to share information, provide education, and promote promising practices that will benefit individuals with brain injuries and their families. BIIN is working with their partners to build and implement an integrated collaborative information system that is increasing the understanding of brain injury, promoting promising practices, sharing information between partners to ensure that individuals and their families are full participants in planning and service delivery.
Web: BIN Facebook page
Each day, Catholic Charities Maine comes to the aid of the poor and vulnerable throughout the state of Maine. We see the faces of people with a mental illness, hurt and frightened children and families, those who have become victims of loneliness and isolation, those battling addictions, anxious refugees, and thousands of others who have been stripped and beaten by circumstance.
As a faith-based, non-profit organization, Catholic Charities Maine had been serving the poor and vulnerable populations of Maine since 1966. From food banks in Aroostook to child care in York County, our network of 700+ professionals and 500+ volunteers helped more than 50,000 of our neediest neighbors last year, answering want with generosity and replacing despair with hope.
Inspired by scripture and the Church’s social teaching, Catholic Charities empowers and strengthens individuals and families of all faiths by providing innovative community-based social services throughout Maine.
Education Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, a statewide service of Catholic Charities Maine, provides assessment, instruction, and consultation to blind and visually impaired children, their parents, and school personnel.
Among the services offered are:
- Low vision training
- Braille Instruction
- Instruction in use of adaptive equipment
- Selection and/or modification of specialized curriculum
- Activities of daily living
- Strategies to facilitate concept development
- Consultation to schools and families about the implications of visual impairment
Working in partnership with Maine’s Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) local schools, and CDS sites, our certified teachers work with children from birth through 21 years old, helping them reach their fullest potential as independent, successful members of our community.
The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), was awarded initial funding as Maine’s University Affiliated Program (UAP) in January 1992.
CCIDS brings together the resources of the university and Maine communities to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Our statewide mission is met through interdisciplinary education, research and evaluation, community engagement, and dissemination of state-of-the-art information that reflect the guiding principles of inclusion, diversity, universal design and access, and social justice.
Beginning January 1, 2013, Maine Kids-Kin will no longer receive funding from The Maine Department of Health & Human Services to provide support services to kinship families. Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine (AFFM) will hold the contract for Resource Family Support Services, which includes kinship, adoptive, and foster families.
Thankfully, Maine Kids-Kin continues to receive funding from several agencies and foundations, and we will be able to continue some of our services for Grandfamilies. We will provide support groups for Grandfamilies in the Bangor, Belfast, Dover-Foxcroft, and Augusta areas. Maine Kids-Kin will also still offer a clothing exchange and lending library out of its Bangor office. These services can be accessed by visiting our Bangor office, but we will no longer be able to mail clothing or books to Grandfamilies.
KMCC uses an integrated approach to help children and youth who experience school disruption due to: homelessness, foster care placement, correctional facility placement, in-patient psychiatric care and/or high mobility. The mission of KMCC is to: promote success for all youth who experience a disruption in their educational program.
The intent of Keeping Maine’s Children Connected is to simplify the transition to and from school so that these students can stay connected or re-connect to their education programs as soon as possible. It is a collaborative effort among The Department of Corrections, The Department of Education, Department of Labor, The Department of Justice and The Department of Health and Human Services.
The work of KMCC includes:
- Establishing and training liaisons in each school district, state agency, correctional facility, and in-patient psychiatric facility. These liaisons along with the youth and family will help decide who the best people are to assist in a plan to support the child in transition. There will be a single statewide database listing all the liaisons which can be easily accessed through a designated website.
- Maintaining ongoing training and meetings for the liaisons so they can remain up to date on policy changes and issues affecting youth.
- Interagency Systems Training so staff can learn more about other disciplines and agencies.
The Kids First Center’s mission is to minimize the emotional and sometimes physical trauma children experience during the separation and divorce of their parents. The Center opened its doors in 1998, although our history goes back to the 1980’s when a group of professionals saw the importance of filling a gap in Maine’s social services. Our staff, as well as our volunteer board of directors, are thoughtful, caring people, committed to putting “kids first” during a challenging time in their lives. If you have questions about the Center, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us directly.
The Maine Department of Education’s Maine CITE Program is designed to help make assistive and universally designed technology more available to Maine children, adults and seniors who need it. Administered by the Maine Department of Education and funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education, Maine CITE delivers services through the Maine CITE Coordinating Center as well as numerous private and public organizations that provide information about AT, device demonstrations, device loans, device reutilization, alternative financing, training and public awareness.
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) is a partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies which identifies barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence, and acts to effect positive change.
The purpose of the Council, as required under the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, is to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of, and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion in all facets of family and community life.
The Council has a vision that all people are included, supported, and valued in communities that provide opportunities to participate and succeed as they choose.
Maine Equal Justice Partners’ purpose is to find solutions to poverty and improve the lives of people with low-income in Maine. MEJP accomplishes this through:
- Public policy advocacy in the legislature and with governmental agencies
- Legal representation and impact litigation on systemic issues
- Statewide outreach and training on issues affecting people with low-income and the supports that can help them prevent or move out of poverty
MEJP focuses its work on the issues that affect people’s daily lives – access to adequate health care, food and income security, supports for working families, and higher education and training opportunities.
This table, developed by MEJP as a public service, provides detailed information about Maine’s Medical Assistance Programs.
The Maine Families Program understands that all parents want the best for their babies. Their caring and professional home visitors partner with new and expectant parents to access the information and resources that can support the physical and emotional health of their baby and entire family.
During home visits parents have the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences about parenting, ask questions and receive reliable information based on the parent’s interests and needs on topics such as:
- baby and child health care
- breastfeeding/formula feeding
- toilet training
- child safety
- household safety
- local resources
- developmental screening
- other organized family events
Services are tailored to meet the individual family’s needs. Parents who are expecting or have a newborn at home are invited to take part in the program. There is NO COST to participate. The Maine Families website includes links to other resources for families and professionals.
MSLHA’s mission is to represent, enhance, safeguard, and advocate for the rights and privileges of the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology, and for individuals with communication impairments. We strive to be a great resource for industry specialists.
The Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSLHA) is dedicated to establishing exemplary professional training and practices standards, to exchanging information and ideas, and to acting as a unified voice for upgrading the profession within our state. MSLHA is the officially recognized professional association for Maine speech-language pathologists and audiologists by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).
The Maine State Library Outreach Services provides a variety of programs for residents with disabilities. These programs are administered by the Maine State Library and funded by the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Residents must be blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped – cannot hold a book or who have a doctor-certified reading disability. These programs require certification by a qualified professional. Contact Outreach for any questions or help.
The mission of the PTA is:
- To support and speak on behalf of children and youth in the schools, in the community, and before the governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children; and
- To assist parents in developing the skills they need to raise and protect their children; and
- To encourage parents and public involvement in the public schools of this nation.
The Maine PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in Maine. A not-for-profit organization of parents, educators, students, and other citizens active in their schools and communities, the PTA is a leader in reminding our state of its obligation to children. Membership in the Maine PTA is open to anyone who is concerned with the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Pine Tree Society started as a bold new idea in 1936. That commitment continues every day throughout the state of Maine. Whether it’s a young girl with Cerebral Palsy discovering her first best friend at Pine Tree Camp, an adult finding his voice with customized assistive technology or an adult with a developmental disability participating in new and exciting activities at Community Services…Pine Tree Society changes lives.
The Pine Tree Society helps people in Maine with disabilities lead richer, more socially connected lives. Too often, people with disabilities feel left out, even isolated. With the help of Pine Tree Society, they’re not alone! We share a spirit of innovation and desire to discover new ways to break down barriers that many find insurmountable.
The mission of the PTS is: To provide Maine children and adults with disabilities the opportunities and the means to create better lives for themselves and their families.
The instructional services of the GBSD are geared toward students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing based on their Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Each student’s strengths and needs are identified in his or her IEP and addressed in classroom instruction. Each student’s IEP goals and objectives are aligned with the state performance standards identified in the Maine Learning Results and assessed within our Comprehensive Local Assessment System, which we are still in the process of establishing. In this way students are provided access to the general curriculum at their zone of proximal development. At GBSD, they have been keeping our curriculum, instruction and assessment in line with the changing educational trends in Maine and across the country. GBSD incorporates both the Whole Language and the Dual Language philosophies.
THRIVE provides trainings, technical assistance and consultation to youth and family-serving organizations and communities to strengthen the trauma-informed aspects of their practice.
Services incorporate youth and family perspective through partnerships with the Maine Alliance of Family Organizations, Youth MOVE Maine and individuals with lived experiences in behavioral health, juvenile justice, child welfare and special education systems.
THRIVE is Maine’s graduated System of Care, and receives funding from Maine’s Department of Corrections Division of Juvenile Services and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
UCP of Maine is a comprehensive Disability Resource Network–providing individuals and families with the programs and services they need in order to live more productive fulfilling lives.
As part of one of the nation’s largest health charities, United Cerebral Palsy affiliates are leaders in providing innovative programs and services to more than 176,000 children and adults with disabilities every day. Our volunteers are engaged ambassadors helping us fulfill our mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities. We make a difference not only in the lives of the children and adults we serve, but also in the communities we are a part of as employers contributing to local economies.
New England Resources
The New England ADA Center provides information and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 508, and accessible information technology to individuals living in New England.
The New England ADA Center affiliates with one organization in each New England state and with the twenty one independent living centers. Many of these organizations conduct access audits and have information about state and local resources for ADA implementation, such as where to obtain sign language interpreters; how to get material Brailled; and where to rent assistive listening devices. The Maine affiliate is Alpha One.
New Hampshire Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
(Serving Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont)
The New Hampshire Branch of the International Dyslexia Association is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to the study and treatment of specific language disabilities (dyslexia). The NHIDA educates the community about the causes, symptoms, assessment and remediation of dyslexia; disseminates information about available resources; teaches multi-sensory structured language instructional approaches to educators and other professionals; and collaborates with organizations working on behalf of people with dyslexia.
This branch was formed to increase public awareness of dyslexia, and through our seminars, conferences, and workshops, servicing individuals with dyslexia, their families, and professionals in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. The NH Branch sponsors workshops, conferences, trainings and scheduled community based trainings each year designed to provide information about different aspects of dyslexia.
The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential.
“Action is our watchword; action will bring results.”
This was our motto when we opened our doors in 1921, and it continues to guide us today. As a national nonprofit with offices in five US cities, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a leader in expanding possibilities for the more than 20 million Americans living with vision loss. We champion access and equality, and stand at the forefront of new technologies. Our award-winning programs directly address the most pressing needs of people with vision loss and their families. Like Helen Keller, AFB’s most famous ambassador, we are committed to creating a more equitable world for people with disabilities.
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides information, resources and networking opportunities to help adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder lead better lives.
The ADDA provides hope, empowerment and connections worldwide by bringing together science and the human experience for both adults with ADHD and professionals who serve them.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national non-profit organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with ADHD. In addition to the informative on their website, CHADD also publishes a variety of materials to keep members and professionals current on research advances, medications and treatments affecting individuals with ADHD. These materials include: Attention magazine; News from CHADD, a free electronic current events newsletter; as well as other publications of specific interest to educators, professionals and parents.
Healthy Families America, a program of Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) America, strives to provide all expectant and new parents with the opportunity to receive the education and support they need at the time their baby is born. Healthy Families America works to prevent child maltreatment in families with children birth to five years old. The website has state-specific information, evaluation studies and information to help advocates and concerned citizens expand and improve these services that help support new families.
The Mission of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is: The OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. The OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.
The Spina Bifida Association serves adults and children who live with the challenges of Spina Bifida. Since 1973, SBA has been the only national voluntary health agency solely dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with Spina Bifida and those whose lives are touched by this challenging birth defect. Its tools are education, advocacy, research, and service.
Through its network of Chapters, SBA has a presence in more than 125 communities nationwide and touches thousands of people each year. Lives are changed by the programs SBA has created, the services provided, and the results of our advocacy efforts.