Massachusetts Advocates for Children’s mission is to remove barriers to educational and life opportunities for children and youth.
We do so by advocating for and partnering with students and families; transforming school cultures to be inclusive, safe and supportive; and creating systemic change so all children and youth can learn, reach their potential, and thrive.
We focus our advocacy on children and youth who face significant barriers, inequities, and/or discrimination because of their economic status, disability, race, ethnicity/culture, immigration status, English Learner status, and/or traumatic life experiences.
All children and youth, particularly those who face the greatest barriers, have a fair and equitable opportunity to learn, reach their potential, and thrive.
MAC’s core values shape all of the work we do, from our internal policies and practices to our advocacy with children and families. We believe these core values allow us to most effectively carry out our mission to remove barriers preventing children and youth from learning in school and thriving.
Our work recognizes the impact of discrimination and bias that unfairly target and create barriers for children and youth based on economic status, disability, race, ethnicity/culture, immigration status, English Learner status, traumatic life experiences, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation. Our advocacy is strategically directed to address the impact of these systemic injustices on children and youth, and to transform the systems themselves.
In recognition of the effects of long-standing institutional racism, discrimination, and implicit bias, we apply a racial justice lens to our advocacy to assure that children and youth of color equitably benefit.
Our priority is to conduct advocacy that changes conditions for the most children, while we also help one child at a time.
We believe in schools and other learning environments that are inclusive, safe and supportive, and provide well-integrated services. However, in helping each child or youth, we advocate to secure the supports and opportunities that will be of greatest benefit, in the least restrictive environment.
WHOLE CHILD APPROACH
MAC advocates for children and youth in school to succeed academically, as well as to succeed in forming and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, expanding communication skills, learning how to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors, and developing a sense of mastery that is integral to the learning process in school and beyond.
While education advocacy and schools are our central focus, we consider the broader home and community context that can impact the children, youth, and families we serve.
We recognize that legal advocacy is most powerful when it is driven and informed by the people directly affected. We partner with parents, families, and young people in order to achieve positive educational and life outcomes
In order to most effectively address complex problems, we collaborate with fellow advocates, sister agencies, and with other organizations in order to access the voice of those affected, identify the best strategies and solutions, create change, and maximize our impact. We also advocate with and for young people, parents, and families in order to amplify and bring their voices to policy makers.
INDEPENDENCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
MAC is an independent non-profit organization and does not accept funding from public or private sources that would create a conflict-of-interest and compromise the effectiveness of our advocacy.
MAC works to realize its vision and achieve its mission through these interconnected strategic directions:
- Protect and expand educational rights of all students with disabilities
- Advocate for the educational rights of immigrant students with disabilities
- Remove barriers faced by children and youth with autism
- Eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps by advocating for racial equity in education
- Transform school cultures to be inclusive, safe and supportive, and trauma-sensitive for all students
- Keep students in school and out of the school-to-prison pipeline
- Expand inclusive pathways to higher education and employment for older youth with disabilities
- Address the educational challenges faced by children and youth with behavioral health needs and/or impacted by traumatic experiences