Who We Are
COFAR, Inc., a statewide nonprofit organization established in 1983, advocates on behalf persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, such as autism, and on behalf of their families and guardians. The families that formed COFAR were among the original plaintiffs in Ricci v. Okin, the landmark 1972 lawsuit, which led to significant improvements in care provided, managed, and overseen by what is now the Department of Developmental Services.
Through our newsletter and blogsite, COFAR provides members and the public with unparalleled scrutiny of the DDS system of care in Massachusetts.
COFAR has also negotiated with DDS to maintain adequate staffing levels at both state and community-based facilities, and has advocated for greater choice for consumers in care. In particular, COFAR is working to preserve state-operated group homes and developmental centers as choices for consumers who are seeking DDS services.
In addition, COFAR has advocated for higher standards and greater oversight of care in the corporate, provider-run system, and for more resources and authority for the Disabled Persons Protection Commission. The DPPC is an independent state agency, which investigates complaints of abuse and neglect in both the state and community systems.
COFAR volunteers provide help and advice to families of clients of the DDS system, and have testified on Beacon Hill for the past two decades on issues of concern to the developmentally disabled and their families.
COFAR is currently affiliated with The Advocacy Network and The Wrentham Association, Inc.; and is a member of the national VOR.
Board of Directors and Staff
Board of Directors
Thomas J. Frain, Esq., President
Edward Orzechowski, Vice President
Bill Stefaniak, Treasurer
Philip Corrigan, Allyson Every, Catherine Gover, David Hart, Richard Krant, George Mavridis, Mary McTernan
Colleen Lutkevich is COFAR’s Executive Director. She has also served as a Plaintiff Representative since 1997 in Ricci v. Okin, a landmark federal court case, which led to improvements in institutional care for persons with intellectual disabilities. Colleen works as a high school guidance counselor. She has a sister, Jean, who resides at the Wrentham Developmental Center.
David Kassel is the Director of Communications and Newsletter Editor. A former journalist and a former Chief of the Management Division with the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General, David is currently principal of Accountable Strategies Consulting.