Important Tampa Bay Community Resources

by Bright Feats

APD – APD Cares

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. Register with APD as soon as possible! It can take years to get services but you’ll be glad you did not delay.

Children’s Medical Services (CMS)

CMS implements a collection of programs for eligible children with special needs. Each one of their programs and services are family-centered and designed to help children with a variety of conditions and needs. Families and caregivers can also receive support to develop the skills and confidence they need to help their children learn and develop. Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay.

City of Tampa

The City of Tampa is fully committed to providing equitable access to the City’s programs and services. Resources, programs and information include: Americans with Disabilities Act Notice and Grievance Procedure, Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities, Autism Friendly Tampa, Special Needs Registry, Therapeutic Recreation Program and more.

Children’s Board of Hillsborough County

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County invests in partnerships and quality programs to support the success of all children and families.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)

Serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. They also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC)

This service was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons 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.

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS)

A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services.

Florida Inclusion Network (FIN)

FIN collaborates with all districts and schools to provide customized services and supports ensuring all students with disabilities have the same educational, social, and future opportunities as their peers.

Hillsborough County Government

Resources, Programs and information include: Americans with Disabilities Act, Notice Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Special Needs Disaster Assistance, Adaptive Sports and Recreation (Camp Sparks, County Special Olympics, Para Olympics etc.), Service Animals, Special Needs Disaster Assistance and more.

Special Needs Ministries

Churches often welcome all people, including those with disabilities, into church life and ministry. It’s a great place to get connected in your community and to receive support. Churches also often host respite programs like Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break. Buddy Break is a FREE Parents’ Day Out/respite program where kids with all types of special needs (VIP kids) have FUN while their parents get a BREAK.

SSI Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.

State & County Education

Serving as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Take the Exceptional Education Parent Survey or view school options with lists of McKay Schools, Gardiner Scholarship Providers and other educational choices.

The Family Café

The Family Café exists to provide individuals with disabilities and their families with an opportunity for collaboration, advocacy, friendship and empowerment by serving as a facilitator of communication, a space for dialogue and a source of information.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

Federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers. Services include Transition Youth Resources, Career Resources, Supported Employment, Ticket to Work, Independent Living Program and more. If you qualify VR may assist with assessments for college accommodations or to help identify employment opportunities to best meet your needs.