Federation for Children with Special Needs

Federation for Children with Special Needs Logo

Basic Information

Address: Federation for Children with Special Needs 529 Main Street, Suite 1M3 Schrafft's Center Boston, MA 02129
Phone Number: 617-236-7210
Fax Number: 617-241-0330
Director: Renee Williams

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Additional Information

Causes Served: Special Education, Advocacy, At Risk Youth
Clearances Required: No
Background Check: Yes
Population Served: Students in custody of the state of MA
Ages for Volunteer: 18
Hours of Service: 30-40 hours per year
Minimum Hours Required: varies per student
Days of Service: varies per student
Mission Statement:

The mission of the RTSC at the Federation is to ensure that every child in state custody receives the educational supports they need to succeed. We strive to meet this goal by recruiting volunteers from across the state and providing them with the training and support they need to be effective Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs).

Program History:

The Special Education Surrogate Parent Program was established in response to State and Federal special education laws requiring parental participation in the IEP process. The program is specifically focused to ensure that this right is extended to students in the care or custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and to students whose parents are unknown or are unable to participate in the decision making process. The program identifies students who are eligible for this service, recruits and trains volunteers to match with the students to provide the service. The program receives approximately 1,800 referrals annually.

SESPP is funded through a contract with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This contract is managed by two partner agencies, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, which provides recruitment and training services to program volunteers through the Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC), and the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program (SESPP) of the EDCO Collaborative, which provides oversight and administration to the matching and delivery of service to eligible students. RTSC and SESPP work collaboratively to ensure quality volunteer appointments, communication with community partners, and positive educational outcomes for students.


Annual Conference
Monthly Newsletter
Monthly Webinars
Complex Trauma Training for Local Education Agencies/School Districts (Minimum obligation required)
Ongoing Support and resources

Additional Information:

Are you interested in supporting students in your community? Volunteer to Become a Special Education Surrogate Parent!

You can help by volunteering to become a Special Education Surrogate Parent (SESP) for a student in state care that requires special education supports and whose parents are unknown or unavailable. These children depend on SESPs to protect their legal right to a free and appropriate education.

SESPs serve as appointed decision makers that have the legal authority of a parent or legal guardian to attend and participate in special education team meetings, approve or reject Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and if necessary, file complains or appeals. On average, the time commitment is only 30-40 hours a year.

RTSC hosts FREE Orientation Trainings throughout the state where you will learn about the role of an SESP, how traumatic experiences can impact learning and how to incorporate the appropriate supports into the IEP. Register to attend this training or visit our website at www.fcsn.org/rtsc/ to view our current training schedule for other opportunities.

Registration is required.

You can register online at http://fcsn.org/rtsc/orientations/ or contact Danielle Hardin at dhardin@fcsn.org or 617-399-8342. (PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT PHONE NUMBER.)