Visitation Policy for DDS Residential Programs

Here is a message from DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder regarding the  DDS Outdoor Visitation Guidance  (with link to Visitation Policy for Residential Programs below):

To the DDS Community –

In March, DDS stopped all visitation to our group homes and facilities in response to the COVID -19 crisis.  This very important measure was taken in order to keep our residents and staff safe and to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus.

I know it has been very difficult for families not to be able to see their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  Although our staff have tried creative ways to keep connections through phone calls, FaceTime, and Zoom, nothing replaces seeing your loved one face to face.

Attached is the revised Visitation Policy for DDS Residential Programs, which will go into effect on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

Although this new guidance allows for in-person visits, it still includes restrictions – meeting outdoors only, screening visitors for symptoms of illness and fever, wearing face coverings, and no touching – that we must follow to keep our community safe.  There is nothing that can replace the physical embrace of your loved one, however, it is a step in the right direction.

We will continue to enforce proper procedures in infection control, cleaning, good hygiene, and the wearing of PPE.  And we will continue to track the virus by monitoring the health of our residents, tracking positive cases, and making testing available to individuals and staff.  We hope to revise our visitation policy further, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and your willingness to work with us as we meet the challenge of this pandemic.  I know your loved ones cannot wait to see you.

Jane F. Ryder
Department of Developmental Services

Click link for:   Visitation Policy for DDS Residential Programs


Group Home Pizza Program to Support Direct Care Staff & Residents

Life-Skills, Inc. is a participating agency in the Group Home Pizza Program.

This program was created by two moms (partnering with Domino’s Pizza) who wanted to show appreciation and acknowledgment to direct care staff at group homes by sending gift certificates for meals for staff and residents.  Direct care staff are working overtime during this crisis, and this meal program gives them a break in preparing a meal and gives residents a fun treat!

Visit: for more information on this program and to order an e-gift card!

Special thanks to Cheryl Ryan Chan and Aniko Houlihan Baglaneas Eves for such a thoughtful idea!

Request for PPE Donations

Life-Skills, Inc. continues to operate our residential and in-home support programs to individuals throughout Central Massachusetts.

Staff in our programs are using supplies conservatively and appropriately, but due to the public health emergency, we have increased precautionary measures and increased the Personal Protective Equipment used to continue to ensure the protection and safety of our individuals and staff.


Due to the demand, we are requesting donations of the following items:

Vinyl gloves
Eye protection/Goggles
Antiseptic wipes
Disinfectant wipes
Temporal thermometers

*If masks are handmade, please include a note indicating what type of mask it is (N-95 cover, surgical mask, etc.), the materials used and any specifications followed.

If you have any supplies you would be willing to donate, pick-up of the items can be arranged.

If you have any questions about donating items, please message us or email us at

Thank you!