Thursday, June 1, 2017

Selected State Resources for Information, Training, Advocacy, & Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

Contributed by Marci Wheeler, MSW 

Family Voices Indiana

Family Voices Indiana is a “parent to parent” organization supporting families of children and youth with special health care needs. They provide information, training and one-to-one support to families as well as the professionals who service them around Indiana. FV Indiana is part of a national network providing information and assistance to help families make informed decisions and navigate health care systems.  FV Indiana is the recipient of a federal grant to provide a Family-to-Family Health Information Center in Indiana. Free face-to-face training offered around the state as well as online training. Publishes online bulletins to inform about issues related to disabilities statewide. Information on the website is offered in both English and Spanish. Staff live in different locations around Indiana and include some whom habla espanol.
Central Office
445 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 941
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Toll free: 844-323-4636

Arc of Indiana

The Arc is a state organization with local agencies in many counties across Indiana. Services may vary in each local agency. The Arc mission is to protect the rights of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities through advocacy and public policy work along with offering programs and providing information to empower people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. Some local agencies provide residential and/or employment services. They have an excellent website for information on programs and services in Indiana for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc Insurance Project provides no-cost advocacy assistance in accessing private and public insurance benefits.
107 North Pennsylvania Street, Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317-977-2375 or toll free 800-382-9100
Fax: 317-977-2385

ASK: About Special Kids, Inc.

A “parent to parent” organization supporting families of persons with special needs with free information on disabilities, laws, education, social services, private insurance and Medicaid issues, and resources throughout Indiana. Writes and disseminates a free online newsletter. Many inexpensive training workshops offered to family members. Much information provided in Spanish, too. Also provides a Resource Directory on their website of services and programs around the state.
Central Office
7172 Graham Road, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46250
317-257-8683 or toll free 800-964-4746
Fax: 317-251-7488

Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS)

Created in January of 2005, the Department of Child Services or DCS includes both Child Protective Services and Child Support Services. DCS exists to help protect children in cases of abuse or neglect. The Child Support Bureau can assist custodial parents in obtaining financial support from non-custodial parents and help enforce legal obligations for non-custodial parents to pay child support.
DCS Central Office location:
302 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN  46204-2738
Send written correspondence to:
P.O. Box 7083
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7083
Fax: 317-232-4490
Child Protective Service (CPS)
To report child abuse or neglect: 800-800-5556
To find local office:
Child Support Bureau
For questions or more info: 317-233-5437 or toll free 800 -840-8757
To find your local office:

Indiana Department of Education: Office of Special Education

State agency that oversees the implementation of education laws pertaining to students with disabilities ages 3-21. They disseminate information and materials on topics related to special education to both professionals and family members.
115 West Washington Street
South Tower, Suite 600
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3420
317-232-0570 or toll free 877-851-4106
Fax: 317-232-0589

Indiana Disability Rights

An independent state agency, formerly known as Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services (IPAS).  Established in 1977 to fulfill federal requirements for a state agency staffed to respond to requests to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Provides information, referral, and technical assistance related to problems that individuals with disabilities face when services or rights are being denied. Also publishes an online newsletter.
4701 North Keystone Avenue, Suite 222
Indianapolis, IN 46205
317-722-5555 or toll free 800-622-4845
TTY: 317-722-5563 or 800-838-1311

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA)

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSA) was established by the General Assembly in 1991 and has gone through many changes. The state departments of Human Services, Public Welfare, and Mental Health were combined under one roof to form FSSA. Currently, there are six divisions of FSSA:
1. Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services 
2. Division of Aging 
3. Division of Family Resources
4. Division of Mental Health and Addiction
5. Office of Medicaid Planning and Policy
6. Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning
402 West Washington Street
P.O. Box 7083
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7083
Fax: 317-233-4693 
Call Center: 800-403-0864
To locate/access information and services from the six Divisions of FSSA, the phone numbers and websites are provided below with a brief description of each office:
1. Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS)Information: Toll free 800-545-7763
Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS):
Provides diagnostic/evaluation services for preschoolers and adults with disabilities, and for those in need of residential services. Case management services and information on Medicaid Waivers is available. BDDS is the main entry point for applications for the Family Supports (FSW) and Community Integration Habilitation Medicaid Waivers. Respite services funding for those not on Medicaid Waivers can be accessed by contacting the local BDDS office. Call the toll free number below to ask for the phone number and location of the BDDS Field Service Office for your county or check for contact information for your local BDDS Field Service Office.
Disability Determination Bureau
This agency makes decisions on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability claims for the State of Indiana. Application for services is done at one of 26 local Social Security Offices within Indiana or online. To find the Social Security Administration Office nearest you, check the U. S. Government section of your phone book for the listing of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office or use contact information below.
National SSA toll free number: 800-772-1213 (800-325-0778 TDD)
National SSA website: http:/
For information and to locate your Social Security Office in Indiana toll free: 800-622-4968 or
Bureau of Rehabilitation Services
402 West Washington Street, W453
P.O. Box 7083
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7083
Toll Free: 800-545-7763
• Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR)
VR assists persons with disabilities (after eligibility is determined) to prepare for, obtain and/or retain employment. Contact your local VR office for questions regarding these services. Find your local office by calling the number below or checking  
Toll free: 800-545-7763. See for general information on VR services.
• Office of Blind and Visually Impaired Services (BVIS)
Provides statewide assistance and services for the blind and visually impaired. 
To contact BVIS call Toll Free: 877-241-8144 or email Check their website for more information.
• Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS)
Statewide information and resource center for the deaf and the hard of hearing community.
Contact this office by email DHHSHelp@fssa/ Check their website for more information:
Bureau of Child Development Services (BCDS)
• First Steps
First Steps early intervention services is a family-centered, coordinated system available for children birth to age 3 who are developmentally delayed or at risk of a developmental delay. The First Steps program can provide assessment and evaluation of a child before their 3rd birthday. A service coordinator then helps the families of eligible children find appropriate services. Call the toll free number or email below to ask for the First Steps contact for your county or look in the business section of your local phone book for the local contact phone number. You can also check for local contact information.
402 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739
Toll free: 800-545-7763 or email
See for information on programs and services
2.  Division of Aging (IDA)This Division provides a broad range of in-home and community based services to older adults and persons of all ages with disabilities. Two of the programs maintained by the Division of Aging are the local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and the Adult Protective Services program.
Call Toll free: 888-673-0002 or check for more information.
Area Agencies on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center
Entry point for CHOICE and Indiana’s two Medical Medicaid Waivers- Aged and Disabled Waiver, and Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver is through the local AAA. Eligibility criteria need to be met to qualify for free services. There are 16 AAA offices in Indiana. Local offices can be accessed toll free at 800-986-3505 or check their website 
Adult Protective Services
This program Investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of endangered adults.  See for information.
Call the Hotline: 800-992-6978 to report suspected abuse.
3. Division of Family Resources (DFR)
Local offices provide determination of eligibility for Medicaid programs such as Hoosier Healthwise medical coverage for children and families. Other programs offered include Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which provides childcare funding for families who are working or enrolled in school and qualify as low income. Low income families can apply for these programs at their local office located in the county where they live. Call Toll free: 800-403-0864 or check for more information. 
Bureau of Family Resources
Toll free: 800-403-0864 to be connected to local offices or check for a map and printable directory of local offices. See for information on services and programs.
Hoosier Healthwise Information:
Toll free: 800-889-9949 or
Bureau of Child Care
Resource & Referral Line: 800-299-1627
4. Division of Mental Health and AddictionOperates state psychiatric hospitals, licenses inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and certifies all community mental health centers and addictions treatment services. For more information call the
Consumer Service Line: 800-901-1133; 317-232-7800 or toll free: 800-901-1133, or check
5.   Office of Medicaid Planning & Policy (OMPP)
Finances medical services for low-income eligible Indiana residents regardless of a disability. To apply for regular Medicaid, contact your local county Division of Family Resources Office. For information on Indiana’s Health Coverage Programs, contact 317-233-4455 or check these websites: and/or 
6.   Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning (OECOSL)
Oversees early childcare education, including Head Start and Early Head Start, and after school programs that support children, families and local schools. For more information, contact the state office toll free: 877-511-1144 or check

Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities (GPCPD)

This is an independent state agency whose mission is to support planning, collaboration, evaluation, research, education and advocacy to empower individuals with disabilities and their families. Develops and disseminates information related to disability issues and conducts the “Partners in Policymaking” project in Indiana. PIP is an educational and empowerment program for consumers and family members. The Indiana Governor’s Council also maintains the Consumer Investment Fund that provides funds for individuals with disabilities and families to attend training events.
Indiana Government South Center
Room E145
402 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317-232-7770 or TTY: 317-232-7771
Fax: 317-233-3712

Indiana State Department of Health

This agency maintains the Maternal and Child Health MOMS Helpline. Also provides information on various programs, including the Children with Special Health Care Needs program, support groups, and Medicaid providers list. Assists with accessing health related programs and services.
2 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317-233-1325 or toll free 800-382-9480
Toll free MOMS Helpline: 844-624-6667 or

Indiana Statewide Independent Living Council (INSILC)

INSILC works with the Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services developing a state plan for independent living. Members of INSILC are chosen from around the state and appointed by the governor. Ten centers for independent living in Indiana provide advocacy information and referral, training and peer counseling. Call or check the website to find the Council on Independent Living Center that serves your area.
P.O. Box 801
Danville, IN 46122
Toll free: 844-446-7452
Fax: 317-807-6100 or

(Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs)

A parent organization which provides families and service providers with information and training which is free and/or at minimal cost to help support educational programs and services for children and young adults with disabilities. Writes and disseminates a free newsletter that is distributed online. IN*SOURCE maintains a list of trained parent representatives (also called Regional Program Specialists) in local communities to assist families with support and information pertaining to early intervention and special education services.
1703 South Ironwood Drive
South Bend, IN 46613
574-234-7101 or toll free: 800-332-4433
Fax: 574-234-7279 for general information and
to a locate Regional Program Specialist for your area

Indiana Institute on Disability and Community

The Institute is focused on building the capacity of communities and organizations to support individuals with disabilities in typical community settings. Provides training and technical assistance, develops and disseminates information, and conducts research. Six centers work with professionals, family members, and people with disabilities, throughout the state, to address early intervention, school improvement and inclusion, transition, employment and careers, aging and health, planning and policy studies, disability information and referral, and autism spectrum disorders.
The Library at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community has a lending library of over 5,000 books, kits, and DVDs that are available for residents of Indiana to borrow FREE of charge.
1905 North Range Road
Bloomington, IN 47408-9801
812-855-6508 or toll free 800-825-4733
Fax: 812-855-9630

Wheeler, M. (2017). Selected state resources for information, training, advocacy, and empowerment for persons with disabilities and their families. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Resource Center for Autism.

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