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c. 1990

Family Leadership Series

Since 1990, MassFamilies has provided the Family Leadership Series to empower families and individuals to live and engage in their communities.


The voices of families are a powerful tool for creating system-wide change.

MassFamilies hosted the first Family Leadership Series in Southeastern Massachusetts from October 1990 to March 1991.

For over 30 years, the Family Leadership Series has helped develop family leaders to create positive change within their families, communities and beyond.

The Family Leadership Series has a three-fold purpose:

  1. Offer information about “best practices” for people with disabilities.
  2. Assist families in creating a vision for their family member and a process to achieve the vision by incorporating that information.
  3. Develop family leaders who will advocate at the local and state level to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The Family Leadership Series focuses on:


Background of the Family Support Movement; leadership, advocacy, and the significance of self-advocacy; how to effectively advocate for change, ways to influence funding and delivery systems


Families are supported to “imagine better” and create a vision with a for their family members that will guide their leadership and advocacy.


How to develop partnerships between professionals and families and use legislative change to procure resources and enact system-wide change.

Series Information

Applications & Deadlines

West FLS 2024


  • February 24, 2024 (Half day virtual)
  • March 2, 2024 (half day, in person)
  • March 22 -23, 2024 (Weekend 1, in person)
  • April 12 – 13, 2024 (Weekend 2, in person)
  • May 3 – 4, 2024 (Weekend 3, in person)

Link to application: https://forms.gle/rku6sPBKGSoaNfuj9

2024 Western Mass Family Leadership Series Springfield, MA

Metro Mass FLS 2024

    Location: Natick, MA


    • Saturday, February 10, 2024, 9am-12pm
      Meet & Greet (VIRTUAL)
    • Friday and Saturday, March 1 & 2 2024, 9am-5pm on both days (In-Person)
    • Friday and Saturday, April 5 & 6 2024, 9am-5pm on both days (In-Person)
    • Saturday, April 27, 2024, 9am-12pm (VIRTUAL)
    • Friday and Saturday, May 3 & 4 2024, 9am-5pm on both days (In-Person)
    2024 METRO MASS Family Leadership Series flyer

    Central, Northeast, and Southeast Region Family Leadership Series

    Latest FLS News

    To find out when future training sessions are announced, please sign up for our mailing list.

    What Families are Saying about the Series

    “The uniqueness of it (the Family Leadership Series) was learning to frame things differently; especially we learned a lot on the vision. The vision you have for your child and your family and your situation was something I didn’t really think to do and to really create that roadmap between where you are now and how to reach that vision… the weekend that we had spent… where we discussed vision and roadmap, everyone left there excited and enthused to really go out there and do it because… it was possible and doable. 

    Brian Kovalski, parent

    “It was just over a year ago that I took part in the MFOFC Family Leadership Series. I’ve wanted to thank you so many times for helping me to discover the tools I needed (or already had, but didn’t know) to believe in myself and in my ability to better advocate for my daughter and many others.”

    Jocelyn Duff, Executive Director, The Talia Duff Foundation To Cure CMT4J

    “The Mass Families Leadership Series was an eye-opening experience that changed my life on some many levels. It provided me with concrete steps to “grow” as an effective advocate, mother, and most importantly, as a human being. More importantly, I gained a community of people committed to creating, advocating, and supporting the legislative aspect of what it takes to fund those services our family members require. I encourage any of you that might be considering participating in the Mass Family Leadership Series to go for it!!!!!!”

    Christine of Reading

    “Wow. The understanding, discovery and empowerment that I gained from this series, the leaders as well as the other participants, has had a lasting effect on me and now my community. Learning how to effect positive change and focusing on what I can do was energizing. Now I have new skills and direction. All the amazing participants and speakers inspired me. If you get the opportunity, do it. I wish I could do it again! Pat of Stoughton To be honest, I expected to find the Family Leadership Workshops depressing. Boy was I wrong! They were not anything like a touchy-feely support group. The leaders and the activities were wonderfully helpful and I learned a lot. Moreover, the other participants were people I was happy to be with, one of the most intelligent groups I’ve interacted with in a long time.”

    Eileen of Newport

    “The Family Leadership Series was a total game-changer for me and had a tremendous positive ripple effect not only for my child with special needs, but my entire family. Each segment, from leadership to creating a vision to advocacy opened my mind to a completely new way of being. It was as if I had been given a roadmap where before I was simply overwhelmed, exhausted and confused. I left the series feeling powerful, inspired and connected to myself, my child, my new friends and the greater community. My husband attended too and I feel like it brought us closer together. All I can say is, if you’re thinking of doing it – do it. You will earn the time and energy back many times over.”

    Cristin of Somerville

    “The Leadership Series not only educated me, it made me think differently. It was great to leave with our visions – I am convinced that there will be a better future!”

    FLS Graduate