Supporting Families Through Family Support

On March 23, in the Great Hall of the State House, The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the DDS Statewide Advisory Council celebrated the department’s family support program and recognized the families that highlight the program.  Some of the individuals recognized were Evelyn Hausslein (Gunnar Dybwad Leadership Award) , Cathe Carpenter (Benjamin Ricci Commemorative Award Winner), Linda Cournoyer (Benjamin Ricci Commemorative Award Winner), and Dr. Robert Baldor, MD (2016 Allen Crocker, MD, Heath Services Award).

Congratulations to this year’s award winners and regional awardees for their work with families! Read more about each of the recipients below.

Every year, the Dybwad Leadership Award is given to someone whose leadership reflects inspiration, integrity, and a commitment to the empowerment of people with disabilities in keeping with the principles and life of Gunnar Dybwad. This year’s recipient is Evelyn Hausslein.

Hausslein Before it was in vogue, Evelyn worked to help her son, Tom develop as a self-advocate.  Her efforts included helping him learn community safety and other important life skills.  Tom, who is a man of few words, was able to travel independently, has worked at a job and volunteered at a local charity for decades.  Tom also found a home in one of the first group settings hosted by “Specialized Housing”.

Evelyn’s professional and personal experience laid the foundation for her professional and volunteer work in our field.   She directed the CPASS project for The Arc in 2005-2006 – a partnership with DDS.  A demonstration project, the results included documenting support broker (then called “independent agent”) competencies.  In other words, “What experience and knowledge would staff serving in this role need to help individuals and families to choose the support services that they needed?”  Evelyn, as project director ensured that our effort was implemented in diverse communities in Boston and Lawrence through our partnership with CLASS and Boston Center for Independent Living.  Evelyn also was the founding director of “Support Brokers” at The Arc, which has facilitated and implemented person-centered plans for individuals who “fall between the cracks”.  Her leadership in MA21-Mass Alliance for 21st Century Policy (MA21) and as chair of The Arc government affairs committee helped us to advance policy objectives.  The “Real Lives” initial bill was developed through the MA21 alliance.


Cathy CarpenterCatherine (Cathe) Carpenter is a long-standing advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities having served on the MASS Arc Government Affairs Committee, the MA Families Organizing for Change Board, the Central Middlesex and Greater Boston Citizen Advisory Councils and the Statewide Advisory Council, among others. She has been a consistent voice for person-centeredness and acceptance for individuals with disabilities for decades. Her work, after the death of her daughter Gracia, to assure that families and guardians understand their rights and responsibilities in their loved ones lives is a testament to this amazing woman and leader.(credit to DDS)


CournoyerLinda Cournoyer has been an advocate for people with disabilities since 1970 when her daughter, Denise, was born. Her commitment to advocacy is marked by years and years of service to various organizations for people with disabilities including the Center for Hope, the MASS Arc Government Affairs Committee, and the New England Center for Children among others. For 25 years, she along with Cindy Howard have organized the Center for Hope Legislative Breakfasts that are always well attended by individuals, families, providers, legislators, and state and local officials. Linda has cultivated long lasting relations with literally dozens of legislators at both the state and federal levels and teaches legislative advocacy at local agencies and colleges.(credit to DDS)


Dr. BaldorDr. Robert Baldor is the Senior Vice Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health of the University of Massachusetts and the Medical Director of the UMass Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research. He has been in practice for over 32 years and like, Dr. Crocker, his day to day practice is dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Baldor is known throughout our community as a physician who embraces the inherent worth of each individual he treats, strives to understand their concerns and support them to achieve the very best quality of life possible. (credit to DDS)

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