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MassSTART is a school-based, community-centered program that offers services and supports to youth (ages 8-13) and their families. The program aims to reduce substance use and delinquency while promoting academic achievement through an incentive based, positive youth development model.

MassSTART is funded by the Department of Public Health (DPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) and is located in two Boston Public Schools. The program offers support to youth and maintains regular communication with teachers and caregivers. A primary focus of the model is to increase parent-to-school attachment so students can achieve academic success. The program is voluntary, lasts up to two years, and is free to families who qualify. [Note: Closed Referral]

The Role of MassSTART

Children and youth enrolled in the program receive out-of-school support with homework, participate in recreational groups, and attend field trips and weekly meetings with a MassSTART mentor at school. The program operates year round, offering referrals during the summer and subsidies for camps and other summer programs. Families also receive tailored services through home visits from a case manager.

MassSTART services include the following:

  • Intensive case management;
  • School and classroom support to boost academic achievement;
  • Social skills groups to enhance age-appropriate interactions with peers;
  • Support for parent advocacy at school and with other involved providers;
  • Collaboration with school staff and collateral agencies;
  • Social support for families;
  • Connection to community resources for job training, mental health supports, and parenting resources;
  • Counseling and crisis intervention for students and families;
  • Assistance in seeking afterschool and summer programming;
  • Enrichment activities for students and families (family field trips, family events); and
  • Relationship-building among students, families, and law enforcement agencies.

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Alisa Hunter, M.S.
Program Manager
(617) 292-9200.

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