Two major human services groups agree to new partnership

Boston Statehouse

Massachusetts State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – Two prominent human services agencies have entered into a “strategic partnership” that will help each organization better serve children, adults and families with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and behavioral health needs.

Advocates and Horace Mann Educational Associates together serve more than 35,000 children, adults and families in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and employ more than 2,200 workers, most of whom are direct care human service workers.

Under the partnership announced on Tuesday, each organization will retain its structure and leadership, but the two will explore ways to collaborate and integrate services “to make the most of their combined strengths, talent, and technology.”

“Our industry is changing in ways that require organizations like ours to affiliate in order to continue to be successful and to grow and innovate to meet the needs of those we serve,” Diane Gould, president and CEO of Advocates, said. “We’ve accepted that challenge and are excited about the possibilities this affiliation provides for advancing our collective mission in the evolving human services system.”

Both organizations offer similar services around adult family care, shared living, family supports, day habilitation and employment, and residential programs for people with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, acquired and traumatic brain injuries, and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In July, the two outfits will begin a three-year strategic planning process to identify ways to more efficiently provide services. Separately, Advocates provides behavioral health services including outpatient counseling and residential supports, emergency psychiatric services, community justice and jail diversion programs, and integrated care management.

HMEA also operates Autism Resource Central, an applied behavior analysis clinic, The Darnell School, Tech Access of RI and Cloud4Causes — an IT consulting service for nonprofit organizations. The two organizations are already familiar with each other and have a history of collaborating, most recently in the areas of IT, trauma care and COVID-19 related needs.

“Both organizations have talented staff who care about the people they serve and are passionate about the work they do,” Jule Noack, HMEA president, and CEO said. “We see lots of potential to learn from each other and create new opportunities for employees across both organizations that will attract and retain talent, drive innovation and enhance the services we provide.”

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