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About Us

Human Rights

EMARC - group

Communitas is committed to supporting the people we serve in the exercise and protection of their Human Rights.  We implement this commitment by continually educating both staff and the people we support and, whenever feasible, the community at large.   Additionally, our Human Rights Committee meets quarterly to review training, human rights issues, any potentially restrictive measures that might be utilized in supporting our individuals as well as any complaints regarding Human Rights or investigations completed by the Disabled Persons Protection Commission. 

Components of the Communitas Human Rights System

  • Human Rights Officers - each program site has an assigned Human Rights Officer that has been trained by the Department of Developmental Services in Human Rights.  The HRO trains staff and individuals each year on human rights, and they support people to advocate for their human rights.
  • Human Rights Coordinator – Communitas has designated one staff person as Human Rights Coordinator to be responsible for ensuring that training occur as needed, and to facilitate the Human Rights Committee Meetings.
  • Human Rights Committee - Consists of professionals and laypersons with experience in the field of Developmental Disabilities who meet regularly to ensure proper functioning of the agency’s human rights system and to offer support and guidance in their areas of their expertise as it relates to human rights.

All people have the following rights which you should know and advocate for if you feel they are not being honored and carried out:  

  • Right to “humane and adequate care and treatment”. Staff members should be attentive to your family member. They should speak to him/her respectfully, calmly, and in an age appropriate manner. Activities (such as television or music …) should be based on individuals’ interests rather than staff selection or preference. 
  • Right to appropriate communication. Staff should assure that communication devices and other methods & modes of communication used by your family member are provided and used by all staff members. 
  • Right to freedom from discomfort, distress, and deprivation which arise from an unresponsive and inhumane environment.  Staff need to provide good and thorough personal care, so your family member is clean and comfortable, and engaged in meaningful activities that they enjoy. Staff should know the special support needs of each individual, which may include such things as communication method or device, specialized diet, medical &/or behavioral supports etc. You or your family member also has the right to be free from arbitrary eviction or expulsion from their agency-managed home or day program.
  • Right to self-determination and freedom of choice.  This includes such things as deciding about what to eat and drink, how to spend their leisure time, when to go to bed, how to spend their money and so forth; to the extent possible, without exposing the individual to unreasonable risk. 
  • Right to be visited and to visit others.  There must be a compelling reason to limit these rights (such as safety of the individual and/or others); and such limit would require the individual’s or guardian’s consent, as well as a review by the provider’s Human Rights Committee and the ISP team. 
  • Right to reasonable expectation of privacy.  Such expectation includes assistance, whenever possible by same gender staff for personal hygiene and related needs. 
  • Right to engage in activities that promote each individual’s meaningful community integration.  This includes any person needing staff support in the community. Program staffing levels should be sufficient to honor this right.

If you have any concerns about the Human Rights of someone we support, you are encouraged to speak with the Human Rights Officer for that program or to the Human Rights Coordinator for the agency.  Names and contact information can be by scrolling down this page.  

The DDS Office for Human Rights has additional information here:  

Additional information on Human Rights for families has been compiled by DDS and may be found here. 

The Disabled Persons Protection Commission was created to protect adults with disabilities from the abusive acts or omissions of their caregivers through investigation oversight, public awareness and prevention. If you have any concerns about abuse or neglect, please contact the Disabled Persons Protection Commission at 1-800-423-9009.  You can learn more about DPPC at

What is Reportable?  

The standard for reporting suspected abuse and neglect is "reasonable cause to believe" which means that mandated reporters need only a " mere suspicion" that abuse or neglect was committed against a person with a disability. All employees and volunteers of Communitas are mandated reporters.     

To learn more about reportable abuse or neglect of adults with disabilities, including how to report, please visit the DPPC Website here   

For reporting suspected abuse and neglect committed against children, elders and persons residing in long-term care facilities (otherwise known as nursing homes) refer to the following numbers.     

Massachusetts Abuse Reporting Numbers     

Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) (24 hours / 7 days a week)  
Ages 18 to 59  
1-800-426-9009 or 1-888-822-0350 TTY     

Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) (24 hours / 7 days a week)  
Ages 60 and over  

Department of Public Health (DPH)  
All Ages residing in Long Term Care Facilities  1-800-462-5540     

Department of Children and Families (DCF) (24 hours / 7 days a week)  
Birth to age 17  

Click this link for more information:  
 How to File a Report of Abuse or Neglect  

Click this link for more information about
 The Role of Families & Guardians in Safeguarding Human Rights
  Human Rights Resources for Families - 2018

If you have any questions about anything presented here, please feel free to contact the Human Rights Coordinator, Kathy Custer, at (781) 587-2208 or 

Human Rights Advocates (updated 5/15/19)

Human Rights Coordinator

Kathy Custer
(781) 587-2208
Residential Services    
Albion Street Raphael F. (781) 587-3131
Haven Street Lawrence H. (781) 944-1486
Hopkins Street Rebecca M. (781) 944-7317
Main Street Gerald C. (781) 665-2884
Newcomb Avenue Jessica K. (781) 231-7934
Pitman Drive Christine A. (781) 944-0302
Range Heights Road Sylvia N.  (781) 587-2412
Rustic Lane Crystal R. (781) 942-0484
Village Street Katerina C. (781) 942-1283
Water Street Donna P. (781) 245-0440
Woodcrest Drive Alice K. (781) 246-1410
Individual Home Supports Susan L 781) 587-2426
Family Support Services    
Family Support & Recreation Kathy C (781) 587-2208
Adult Family Care Shelby P (781) 587-2362
Day Services    
Beverly Day Services Andrew N (978) 279-2100
Burlington Day Services Alisa F (781) 365-1350
Wakefield Day Hab Suzanne G (781) 587-2440
Wakefield Career Services Stephen D (781) 587-2440

Members of the Communitas Human Rights Committee

Russell K – Committee Chair 
Daniel D – Attorney 
Sarah C – Registered Nurse 
vacant - Mental Health Professional (click link to find out more information about this volunteer position!)
Susan K – Family Member 
Kathleen A – Family Member 
Ellen H - Village Street & Wakefield Day
Tim S - Haven Street 
John H - Rustic Lane & Wakefield Day
 Andrea L - Albion Street