Family Support and Advocacy

The ARC of Minnesota

The Arc of Minnesota is a private, non-profit, statewide voluntary organization; local chapters of The Arc span the state of Minnesota. The Arc serves people of all ages with many kinds of developmental disabilities including, but not limited to, intellectual disabilities, Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. ARC is concerned with the total life of an individual, from birth to death, and with all services or needs an individual and his or her family may have.  ARC provides crucial information for people with developmental disabilities and their families, connects them with resources, and stands with them when they need an advocate. Workshops, information and referral, one-on-one advocacy for families and their children with developmental disabilities, public policy advocacy, and support services are provided across the state by The Arc of Minnesota or local affiliated chapters of The Arc. The Arc fights for persons with developmental disabilities so they can reach for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Contact: The Arc of Minnesota, 800 Transfer Road, Suite 7A, St. Paul, MN 55114. Phone: 651-523-0823 or

1-800-582-5256. Website: www.thearcofminnesota.orgor e-mail:


Catholic Charities

It is one of the Twin Cities’ largest private providers of social services, working to strengthen families, reduce poverty and build stronger communities in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area through their advocacy efforts. They serve those most in need through four divisions: Children, Families, Housing, & Emergency Services and Advocacy. St. Joseph’s Home for Children specializes in assessment, crisis intervention and residential programming, especially for children with severe emotional and behavioral problems. Offer supports and services for children, families, and the homeless. 612-204-8500.



Community Action Agency

 Offices are located throughout the state, with varying names.  They often know what is available in the area for a variety of resources, including emergency food shelves, housing and energy assistance, Head Start, low-cost medical care, county offices, and more.  You can find a Community Action Agencies in your area by going to their Website at 100 Empire Drive, Suite 202; St. Paul, MN 55103. 651-645-7425


Community Services Locator

 The Community Services Locator is an online directory for finding services for children and families in the communities in which they live. The locator, produced by the MCH Library, may be used by service providers and families to find available health, mental health, family support, parenting, child care, and other services. Topics include education and special needs, health and wellness, mental health and well-being, family support, parenting, child care and early childhood education, and financial support. A new A-Z Resources and Services Index offers another avenue for navigating the locator and the library's Web site. The locator along with all appropriate 1/800 numbers for all agencies is available at



Family Voices

Family Voices of Minnesota is a grass roots non-profit organization and network of families whose children, youth and young adults have special health care needs and/or disabilities.   Family Voices connects families with trained veteran Support Parents who provide support and information to help navigate systems of care. 


Family Voices of Minnesota is the State Affiliate Organization of National Family Voices and the Minnesota Alliance Member of Parent to Parent USA.  Through our state and national networks, we provide families tools to make informed decisions, advocate for improved public and private policies, build partnerships among professionals and families, and serve as a trusted resource on health care.  


Family Voices of Minnesota has staff and Volunteer Support Parents located all around Minnesota helping families navigate systems in their communities.  Family Voices of MN's web-site:  For more information contact: 612-210-5547 or 866-334-8444 or by e-mail: is a centralized Internet entry point that contains information about services provided by both public and private entities throughout the state. The site is easy to use for both the beginner and the more experienced internet-savvy consumer or professional. The site contains information links for all ages. Information on many topics is available by County and may be accessed by zip codes or city and state. It includes shelters, crisis nurseries and vouchers for lodging. There is a Spanish information page and access to Minnesota Northstar government website.


The Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD)

 MSCOD is an agency that collaborates, advocates, advises and provides information to expand opportunities, increase the quality of life and empower all persons with disabilities. Services are provided to individuals with disabilities and their families, the Governor and Legislature, government and private agencies, employees, and the general public. Services include: (1) Review of disability issues, programs and policies and advise the Governor, Legislature and State agencies; (2) Promote coordinated, collaborative, interagency efforts. (3) Provide information and referrals regarding disability issues, services and policies. (4) Collect, conduct and make disability related research and statistics available. (5) Advocate for policies and programs that promote the quality of life for people with disabilities. Address: The Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD), 121 East Seventh Place, Suite 107, St. Paul, MN 55101. Phone: 651-361-7800 or 1-800-945-8913 (Voice or TTY)


National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)

 This is the national information center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues. Anyone can use our services—families, educators, administrators, journalists, and students. Our special focus is children and youth (birth to age 22). NICHCY shares information about disabilities in children and youth. You can explore their Website, read their publications and share them with others, let them connect you with resources in your state and in the United States, and call them free of charge to talk with their information staff about your special concerns. They’re bilingual, too! Address: NICHCY, 1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20009. Phone: 1-800-695-0285 (Voice or TTY).


PACER Center, Inc. (Parents’Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights)

PACER offers individual advocacy and workshops for parents and professionals on special education law. They have many free publications. Address: PACER Center, Inc., 8161 Normandale Boulevard, Minneapolis, MN 55437. Phone: 952-838-9000 or 1-800-537-2237 (Voice) 952-838-0190 (TTY).  


 Patient Advocate Foundation

The Patient Advocate Foundation is a national non-profit organization that seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases.


Respite Care “Our Family: A Respite Workbook for Families and Care-Providers” is available at the Child Neurology Foundation. This workbook is to be completed by families to provide all personal health information for temporary caregivers to ensure the best care for your child while in respite care. Copies are available from on this site under “Advocacy,” or call Toll Free: 1-877-263-5430.




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