COVID-19: The Arc Of Massachusetts Shares Visitation Recommendations Draft

The Arc has been advocating for DDS guidance on family visitation for group homes. We know it has been excruciatingly difficult for families to be apart for so long. With the reopening progress, we do expect these guidelines will be coming soon.

We are sharing our suggestions and looking for your feedback on this document. Please respond to Maura at

Thank you for your continued engagement in policy advocacy and for your strength during this impossible time.

Download the PDF file .


  1. Thank you for this essential work. My son is at Crotched Mountain and I am very concerned about him. They have a venue where that I could take a walk with him and need to see him soon with the appropriate protocols adhered to.
    Linda Cox

    • We also, haven’t seen our son in over 3 months! We used to take him home to visit 3 times a week. This was the first time ever I spent Mother’s Day without him! It’s time to let him come home again! Don’t know how much longer we can survive without being with him? My heart is broken not being able to hug him! Staff at his group home have been great with him but it’s time for him to be with Mom and Dad!

  2. Janice Goodwin

    How does the Visitation draft explain visits ? There is nothing in it! I need to see my daughter. This is ridiculous! The State of Mass. is not dealing with this! They are opening businesses and talk to much about the economy When all the while our adult children are in lock down Like prisoners! Each agency should begin their own plan based on their own population and Covid -19 results.

    • Jennifer McGilvray

      I very much agree with Janice above. If things stay as they are, we will never see our children/family member. I have not seen my son(an only child) since March 7 when we did one of our usual get togethers. .No other “family” ever checks on him anyway.. Informaton about daily/weekly happenings was very scarce until recently. Very very little outreach by agency which has been a surprise. His residence is in a “hot spot”. We have talked on the phone at least once a week. He is very anxious about his day program but is certainly enjoying on their weekly calls and Zoom etc with them!. We(he and I) are very lucky to have a long term stable staff at that residence, but I have basically no contact with them.
      It has been a very anxious time.

  3. My son’s entire group home and staff tested positive for COVID-19 almost six weeks ago. Two doctors have documented that it is appropriate and necessary for us to see him now. Yet NOTHING! We’ve taken this across the state at every level. How can nursing homes be receiving visitors and we cannot see or vulnerable, nonverbal children who cannot use FaceTime?!?!? This is an outrage.

  4. Please help us advocate for our adult children so they are not unfairly treated. Currently, they have been inflicted with much greater restrictions than the rest of the population of adults. I would argue that from the very beginning when typical adults were in stay-at-home recommendations-their home should have included their group home and their family home. This has gone too far. I took my son home as I did not want to risk the regression and emotional abandonment that would likely have resulted with an abrupt schedule change. He has never gone more than 5 days without going home. Interestingly – he stayed healthy. Everyone else in his group home contracted Covid19 while in lockdown. Now- regulatory agencies are continuing to trust the same staff that gave our special needs children the virus and not trusting parents to keep their children safe at home and not even outside at the group home- just outrageous.

    Also- to tell parents that they can’t hug their adult children is about the cruelest statement I have heard. My younger son can go to the barber, play golf, hug his girlfriend, social distance with his friends and family! How is this fair?
    If you can get your haircut (can’t do this from 6 feet away from client) and be safe by both parties wearing masks- please explain how hugging your children with masks is not as safe!

    Our adult children NEED the emotional support of their families.
    PLEASE let them go home or at the very least see family as much as possible at their group homes.

    • Absolutely agree with you 100%. Finally this week I get to visit my daughter for 15 minutes! Lots of rules but will comply to see her. May be emotionally very difficult to separate again for another week!

  5. Not A Happy Camper!

    I am replying to this thread just to show everyone how miserable this situation is:

    Our son lives in a group home where he is treated well. Although we have been able to communicate with him through a window screen at his group home; he remains very upset the situation. He misses our house and his day program,etc. Calls us 6-7 times a day with the same questions; “When can I come home for a visit?” “When can I go back to my day program?” “When will coronavirus be over?”

    We are equally upset, but we realized there was no other option if he wants to continue living there, and he says he does. So there is nothing we can do about the situation, and we accept that.

    But that does not stop the sadness! He is essentially a prisoner. Think of this; on Monday I can choose to go to a restaurant, the beach, or to go shopping and I can protect myself. But he is unable to go anywhere at all because the assumption is that we (parents) are to ignorant to protect him! Huh?

    And this will continue on for months. While everyone else has more and more freedom his feet are essentially stuck in mud. So unfair to him! So unfair to us!

    How much are you all willing to bet That when a vaccine is produced – group home residents and nursing home residents will be the LAST ones to receive it?

    • Very difficult times for theses individuals and families and staff! I am hoping that these vulnerable folks will be the 1st to get the vaccine after maybe the health care workers and 1st responders and staff who care for them!

  6. It all depends on how much advocating you really do and if you hook up with the right advocating organization and speak up for those that really matter and speak up about the vaccine going straight to your son and others like him write letters to Washington write letters to your legislators speak up and make sure that your son is one of the first to get that vaccine I am a self advocate and I’ve been advocating for people like your son for years if you ever need pointers let me know

    • There are little specifics around visitation or home visits. My sister needs to come home for a visit. Why is no one addressing the discrimination inherent in the fact that staff who work in these group homes are allowed to go home to their families and renter the group home with screening protocols but the individuals who live in these homes are denied this right. My sister got covid19 from a staff member for this reason. The policies in place are to protect staff not the individual residents. Please advocate stronger. Denying mobility and home visits to the disabled while staff move freely is a human rights violation.

  7. If staff are not in lock down within the individual residences then why should the residents? My sons group home got the virus by STAFF. They have been cleared for over 4 weeks now. They have 11 staff rotate out on shifts and they are all allowed to go home and live their life. How is it acceptable that my non verbal son can’t come home and I can’t go there (with the exception of 3 short outside visits) Why isn’t DDS commenting on any of these concerns?
    As far as a vaccine, I don’t want my son to be among the first to be experimented on. NOPE! I believe thats how he got Autism/brain damage in the first place

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