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Inclusion Initiative

Human Service Programs

The Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) prioritizes the inclusion of children with disabilities in our K-8 Out-of-School-Time programs. The Inclusion Initiative works with staff in providing support to families, caregivers, and City staff to ensure that all children enrolled in DHSP afterschool or summer programs receive the support needed to actively and safely participate. Our goal is for every child to fully participate in group activities; understand and follow program rules; conduct themselves safely and appropriately in a group setting; and successfully transition between activities.

When a child with disabilities is offered a seat at a DHSP afterschool or summer program, Inclusion Initiative staff work with the child's family or caregivers to fully understand their needs. The Inclusion Initiative determines whether reasonable accommodations would support the child's success in an Out-of-School-Time program. If so, Inclusion Initiative staff coordinate with DHSP staff to implement them. 

Reasonable accommodations in Out-of-School-Time Programs might include:

  • Reasonable modifications to a program's rules, policies, or practices
  • The provision of auxiliary aids and services
  • Written materials in alternative formats
  • Alteration or removal of physical or transportation barriers
  • Hiring additional staff to support supervision

The Inclusion Initiative also provides coaching, on-site support, and specialized training for City staff who work with children and youth in Kindergarten through 8th grades. Trainings focus on how best to structure programs to be inclusive through methods including Positive Behavior Support, De-escalation, and collaborative problem solving. 


How long will it take to assess supports that my child may need?

This will vary depending on your child's specific needs. Each year, we work with approximately 300 families whose children qualify for a DHSP Out-of-School-Time program and who have a disability.  We work as quickly as possible to understand your child's needs and coordinate reasonable accommodations they made need. The amount of time needed will depend on each child's specific needs. Some supports take longer to implement, especially if it is necessary to hire additional staff. We are committed to putting the supports in place that will help your child - and their peers - successfully participate in our programs. 

How do I know if my child is eligible to participate in a DHSP Out-of-School-Time program?

The Inclusion Initiative works with children who have a range of abilities, including autism spectrum disorder, social-emotional needs, etc. The Inclusion Initiative will use the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as a starting point and will reach out to families with any questions. If your child meets the eligibility requirements for a DHSP Out-of-School-Time program, we are dedicated to working with you to understand your child's needs and coordinate reasonable accommodations for them in our programs. 

Which DHSP Out-of-School-Time programs does the Inclusion Initiative work with?

The Inclusion Initiative works with all of DHSP's Out-of-School-Time programs, including: Childcare Afterschool programs, Community Schools afterschool and summer camps, Cambridge Youth Programs Pre-Teen / Middle School Youth Center Programs and Summer Programs, King Open Extended Day, and Recreation programs. 

Page was posted on 11/9/2023 2:29 PM
Page was last modified on 1/3/2024 3:04 PM
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