Tara Kurtz-Boucher Named MHA’s Vice President of

Integration and Community Living

 

SPRINGFIELD –Tara Kurtz-Boucher remembers accompanying a crisis-intervention trained police officer on a walk through downtown Northampton responding to individuals who had called emergency services with issues of substance use, co-occurring mental health disorders, and homelessness.

It was an “eye-opening” experience in Kurtz-Boucher’s extensive career of helping others, and one which has taken her from direct care worker to supervisor, to director of residential and outreach services and now, Vice President of Integration and Community Living.

The appointment means Kurtz-Boucher will oversee MHA’s outreach and residential programs for individuals referred by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. These programs for individuals with a developmental disability include permanent community residences where residents work with staff on daily life skills, outreach services for individuals living independently and shared living which matches individuals with a certain level of independence with families willing to share their home.

“I liked the fact this appointment, because of the efficient structure of MHA, will allow me the unique opportunity to be a vice president but still very much have my boots on the ground,” Kurtz-Boucher said. “This is important because I think being a good leader means knowing what is happening on every level. I want to know what the challenges are for everyone on my team- from direct care to supervisors and directors in the work they do so I can give them correct advice or lead them in the right direction.”

Kurtz-Boucher started in direct care in 1997 at ServiceNet in Northampton, where she worked for nearly two decades in different management capacities with individuals with a developmental disability, some in need of behavioral health support, and also individuals with autism. She left in 2020 as the Senior Director of ServiceNet’s Outreach and Shared Living division. Her most recent position was with CHD where her responsibilities included overseeing a division in its entirety, including 20 residential programs,  Day Programming supports, outreach services and Shared living Services  to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health challenges.

“I fell in love early in life with working with human services, especially direct care,” said Kurtz-Boucher who is a Licensed Social Worker  who has been recognized for her work by the Northampton Police Department and the State Senate. “The field of human services takes a myriad of skill sets and I am good at multi-tasking, being empathetic and seeing both the big and little picture.”

Kurtz-Boucher’s education began at Holyoke Community College, where she earned an associate degree in human services, and later she earned her undergraduate degree in the field from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and, in 2017, her master’s from Bay Path University in Longmeadow.

She added that her work on the streets of Northampton with vulnerable individuals seeking assistance was “very pivotal and eye opening” in exposing her to the challenges that exist and in helping those challenged to “navigate a very difficult system.”

“There is just a basic sense of humanity in helping others,” said Kurtz-Boucher.