MLRC Partners  Grant   Mission  Grant Advisory Committee  Staff

About the Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition (MLRC)

History of the MLRC

Cargiver with man in wheelchairIn April 2010, over 100 people – caregivers, volunteers, representatives from state and local agencies and organizations - attended the first statewide conference to discuss the need for respite services in Massachusetts. Jill Kagan from the National Lifespan Respite Coalition was the featured speaker. 

She spoke about the Federal Lifespan Respite Act of 2006 and the growing movement across the country to form respite coalitions. 

At this statewide summit, recognition was made of previous efforts of many individuals to improve the status of respite services in Massachusetts.

MLRC Partners

MA Department of Developmental Services
MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
MassHealth Office of Long Term Care
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
MA Department of Public Health
MA Department of Mental Health
National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter
Rewarding Work Resources, Inc.
MA Developmental Disabilities Council    
BayPath Elder Services, Inc.
HMEA, Inc.
MA Aging and Disability Resource Consortia
Boston Children's Hospital
MA Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Lifespan Respite Grant

In the fall of 2010, Massachusetts was awarded a three year grant from the Administration on Aging.
The objectives of the grant are to:

  • Develop a statewide respite coalition consisting of family caregivers, respite providers, and members of the aging, disability and health services network.
  • Improve statewide dissemination and coordination of respite care by developing a comprehensive, accessible directory of services.
  • Enhance and expand the availability of lifespan respite services in Massachusetts by improving training and recruitment of providers, and developing a strategic plan and list of policy recommendations.

Outcomes will include:

  • a more collaborative network of respite service providers.
  • an easily accessible, highly visible on-line and print-based guide to respite services.
  • a better trained corps of respite workers and volunteers.
  • higher availability of respite services.

Products will include:

  • a three-year plan for the development of a Lifespan Respite Services Program.
  • a written assessment of respite services in Massachusetts.
  • a web- and print-based directory of respite services in Massachusetts.
  • a set of quality and safety guidelines for respite providers.
  • a standardized training curriculum for respite providers (paid and unpaid).
  • a list of policy recommendations for presentation to state agencies and policy makers.

MLRC Brochure – Click here to download brochure.   

MLRC Fact Sheet – Click here to download fact sheet.

MLRC Powerpoint Presentation – Click here to download powerpoint presentation.

MLRC Mission/Vision/Guiding Principles:


To promote and support access to quality respite care options that enhance the lives of individuals and families with special needs throughout the lifespan.


Throughout Massachusetts, every individual, caregiver, or family needing respite services will have access to a seamless, statewide system that provides quality, individualized respite services that meet their needs

Guiding Principles

Every family is entitled to a highly qualified, trustworthy respite provider.
Every respite provider should aspire to respect and embrace cultural diversity.
Respite services should support families in building strength and maintaining unity.

MLRC Governing Board and Officers  - Governing Board will be determined in September or November – names and titles to be entered here at a later date

MLRC By-Laws  By-laws have been written and will be voted on at the next meeting in November.  Once they are adopted by the coalition, they will be inserted here.

MLRC Grant Advisory Committee

Christine Alessandro, Executive Director, BayPath Elder Services, Inc.
Sheila Donahue-King, State Coordinator, MA Family Caregiver Support Program,      MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Rosalie Edes, Assistant Secretary, Disability Policies and Programs, MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Emily Davidson, M.D., Director, Down Syndrome Program, Children’s Hospital Boston
Margaret VanGelder,  Director of Family Support - Office of Policy, Planning & Children's Services, MA Department of Developmental Services
Virginia Morse, Advocacy Coordinator, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater New England Chapter
Liz Fancher, Program Specialist, MA Developmental Disabilities Council
Mary Grant, Clinical Director, Long Term Services and Support at Commonwealth of Massachusetts/Mass Health
Amy Nazaire, Regional Director of Family Support and Children’s Services, MA Department of Developmental Disabilities
Michael Oliver, Consultant
Joan Kelly Rafferty, Co-Director, Central MA Respite Project, Consultant

MLRC Project Staff:

Amy Nazaire, Project Director  -
Stacey Hammerlind,RN,CCM,CT,CDP, Project Coordinator  -
Michael Oliver, Consultant –

MLRC Meeting Minutes 

2013:  1-15-13

2012:  1-10-12     3-13-12     5-8-12     7-10-12     9-11-12     11-27-12

2011:  6-15-11     9-14-11     11-29-11