At Vinfen, we recognize that we are transforming lives together. We support and help the individuals we serve to transform their lives, together with other caregivers, community resources, and most importantly – with their families. Families are the most important resource of information, guidance, and support, for their loved one in our care.

Our Family Advisory Councils were formed to provide mutual support, education and assistance for families, and to encourage input from families in the development of the Vinfen’s programs, policies, and plans. Family members of people with mental health conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges and their advocates have a unique and important perspective on program services and disability policies.

The Councils are committed to making a real difference. Members provide guidance on a wide range of initiatives and projects such as developing staff training that promotes the principles of family self-direction and partnership, coordinating family educational forums and networking events, and creating new policies and procedures that strengthen the partnership between families and Vinfen to support their loved ones.


Any family member of a person with a mental health condition, intellectual and developmental disability, brain injury, or behavioral health challenge is encouraged to join. This includes parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, guardians, and other loved ones.

As a member, you will develop new skills and acquire knowledge that will enhance your ability to act as an effective family advocate and leader. You will learn from other family members’ experiences. You will also create change in policy and program development and achieve important outcomes that will make a difference for families.

For information about the Vinfen Connecticut Family Advisory Council, contact Rob Crane at 860-787-2441 or


With the support of his family, Matthew Emmerthal transitioned to Vinfen to find a nurturing environment that would allow him to explore his passion for art and learn to better express himself. Since then, the team at Art Connection Studio has transformed into an extended family. Matt’s love for mixed media, color, motion, and texture has taken shape into dozens of pieces that he’s had the opportunity to display for friends and family. A joy to work with, the Art Connection staff say Matt’s positive and energetic personality is contagious at the studio, and he can often be found dancing away to rock or punk music in between bouts at the canvas. With all the support, encouragement, and respect as an artist Matt receives at Vinfen, The Art Connection Studio is now his home away from home.