State Agencies

    Florida Department of Children and Families provides services to children, families and adults.  Services are provided for children who have been abused or neglected by their families, have been victims of abuse or neglect and have become eligible for adoption, have an emotional handicap, serious emotional disturbance, or mental illness, or at risk of substance abuse problems.  Services are provided to families with children in child care, WAGES Participants, families with children at risk of abuse, persons with developmental disabilities, and victims of domestic violence.  Services are provided to adults with disabilities who need long-term care to remain in the community, those with mental illness or that have a substance abuse problem, adults with disabilities and frailties, elderly at risk or victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation, and indigent persons who are unable to work due to age, disability, or incapacity.

    Disability Services in Florida's Colleges-  This site will give you information regarding the special services offered to students with documented disabilities attending any of Florida's college.

    Agency for Persons with Disabilities - This site from the Florida Department of Children and Families offers useful publications for families of those with developmental disabilities.

    The Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services - provides training to school staff, district administrators, and others on important issues and current instructional practices; information on state and federal law relating to the education of exceptional students; monitors the districts' compliance with those laws; helps resolve conflicts between school districts and families of exceptional students; and provides any other technical assistance school districts need.

    The bureau also serves families of exceptional students.  The bureau's Resource and Information Center provides many materials to help parents understand their child's exceptionality, their child's right to a free appropriate education, and the processes and activities that are involved in exceptional student education.

    Florida's school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provides Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a private school. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of a special needs student who is dissatisfied with the student’s current school may choose to transfer the student to another public school.  For information about a McKay Scholarship for a qualifying Leon County Schools ESE student, please contact the Exceptional Student Education office at 487-7158.

    SEDNET Multiagency Network for Students with Severe Emotional Disturbance is a multiagency service network for students with emotional disabilities. SEDNET is devoted to enhancing the "System of Care" for high risk students and for students with emotional disabilities and their families through facilitation, collaboration, direct intervention.

    Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation  provides services for eligible persons with physical or mental impairments. These services are designed to enable them to enter, regain or retain employment.  Any person living in Florida who has a physical or mental impairment, and is of (or approaching) working age may apply for rehabilitation services by contacting the nearest VR office for an appointment. 

    Local Resources

    Ability1st is a non-profit, community-based agency that provides services to persons with all kinds of disabilities. They serve persons in 14 counties: Leon, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Gadsden, Wakulla, Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Washington, Jackson, Holmes, Liberty and Calhoun. Ability1st, formerly the Center for Independent Living of North Florida, is part of a nation-wide network that was founded by Ed Roberts.  Its mission is to empower persons with disabilities to live independently and participate actively in their community

    Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) Miccosukee is one of 19 Associate Centers and Specialized Centers serving Exceptional Student Education programs. Functions of FDLRS include Child Find (assisting districts in the early identification of children with disabilities,) parent services (including Parent Information, Parent Education, Family/Consumer Involvement, and Collaborative Education,) Human Resource Development (staff and parent training opportunities,) and technology. 

    The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for people with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives. To address system-wide issues affecting people with developmental disabilities, the Council engages in state and national advocacy activities in support of legislation, policies, and programs responsive to the needs of people with developmental disabilities. As a member of the Consortium of Developmental Disabilities Councils, the Council is committed to representing the diverse interests of Developmental Disabilities Councils and the people with disabilities that the councils were created to serve.

    The FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) provides direct assistance for communication, social, and behavior problems; consultation to schools, vocational programs, and other agencies; professional training; family support and education; information, resources, and referrals; public education. The Center serves people of any age with autism, pervasive developmental disorders, autistic-like behavior, dual sensory impairments, and sensory impairments with other handicapping conditions. Services provided cannot duplicate the services of other state and local agencies. Various support groups meet on different schedules for parents and families of autistic children.



    Leon Advocacy and Resource Center - LARC is dedicated to providing quality employment, residential and community based training services to persons with disabilities and a private non-profit provider agency supported by various sources that include Federal, State, County and private funds.  They have provided services and supports in North Florida for over 40 years.  The following services are provided in Leon, Wakulla, Taylor, and Franklin Counties.

    • Supported Employment
    • Supported Living
    • Residential Services
    • Community Facilitation

    Whole Child Leon provides a list of community agencies that provide "educational" services to children with disabilities.

    A Whole Child community is one that provides all children with the opportunity to be healthy, contributing members of society, based on the belief that parents have primary responsibility. Communities must join together to make their commitment to the Whole Child philosophy to become a designated community.

    Whole Child Leon is a community-wide effort to get our children off to the best start in life by ensuring they have everything they need to thrive. Families with young children often need help: some lack education, information or economic stability, or they may not know where to go for help. Even busy, two-parent, working families may struggle due to a lack of time, information or adequate child care. Other families are strained by the many demands of caring for young children or dealing with a child with special physical or emotional needs.

    National Resource Directory

    Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), is one of the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, advocates for newly and historically underserved individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

    Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS - U.S. Department of Education) supports programs that assist in educating children with special needs, provides for the rehabilitation of youth and adults with disabilities, and supports research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. 

    Special Education Resources on the Internet (SERI) is a collection of Internet accessible information resources of interest to those involved in the fields related to Special Education. Subject areas cover the range from Attention Deficit Disorder to Vision Impairment.

    U.S. Department of Laobr Disability Resources The U.S. Department of Labor has redesigned the federal Web site that connects the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities to thousands of trusted resources on disability-related issues, programs and services.  Formerly known as DisabilityInfo.gov, the site has been completely redesigned and updated with new social media tools, such as a blog and a Twitter feed, to encourage feedback and interaction among visitors.  Disability.gov is not just for Americans with disabilities, but also for parents of children with disabilities, employers, workforce and human resource professionals, veterans, educators, caregivers, and many others.  Disability.gov features comprehensive information from 22 federal agencies, as well as educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments.  Topics covered on the site include:  benefits; civil rights; community life; education; emergency preparedness; employment; health; housing; technology; and transportation. 


    Sibling Support Project - An excellent site of sibling support resources, workshops and connections regarding brothers and sisters of people with disabilities, chronic illnesses or mental health concerns.

    Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers - the Alliance, focuses on providing technical assistance for establishing, developing, and coordinating parent training and information projects under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  


    The National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) - promotes the effective use of technology to enhance educational outcomes for students with sensory, cognitive, physical and social/emotional disabilities. Through NCIPNet, it links community members through a series of facilitated discussion forums to exchange information and build knowledge through collaborative dialogue.  In addition, NCIP gathers, synthesizes, and disseminates information about technology, disabilities, practice, and implementation through a range of resources located in its library, and offers a series of video profiles which illustrate how students with differing disabilities use a range of assistive and instructional technologies to improve their learning.

Last Modified on July 25, 2017