Storm Readiness

The beginning of fall in Florida can be a time of uncertainty, emergency preparedness, and BUCKETS of rain. If we are experiencing inclement weather, it is possible that our phone-lines may be down. Although our shelters are open 24/7, 365 days a year regardless of the weather, make sure you check local resource sites for updates.

As of 10/9 at 4pm, all CDS offices and sites will be open with the exception of our prevention program in Levy county.

For Alachua County updates and resources during emergencies, Click Here.

For Columbia County updates and resources during emergencies, Click Here.

For additional information and to find out who to contact in case of an emergency, follow this link: Storm Contacts

Stay safe, everyone!

New Interface Shelter!



To everyone who contributed through the Amazing Give fundraiser in March, especially to State Attorney William P Cervone who offered a 2:1 match!  All together we raised $32,298!

These funds are going toward our CDS Building Fund which now has approximately 23% of the 1.5 million dollars we need to build a new Interface Youth Shelter in Gainesville.  We are finalizing the leasing of 10 acres from the state in north east Gainesville.  As soon as we have enough money saved we can start building!

Donors needed to help make this dream a reality!  We will be building a modern building that will accommodate the needs of today’s youth.

Again, thank you to all our supporters and well-wishers!  We had 104 individual donations through Amazing Give and this was just our first year participating in the event.

0-24 Resources in Alachua County

One of the reasons that CDS can successfully “Strengthen Communities by Building Strong Families” is because CDS partners with many others.  Alachua County has many resources available to those with children age 0-24.  The powerpoint organizes the agencies by age of those served.  The excel listing is in alphabetical order.  CDS takes no responsibility for errors as information changes every day.  If you find an error, or would like to suggest an addition, please email so she can make the corrections.  The following were updated in January 2016.

0-24 Resources in powerpoint
0-24 Resources in excel


CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services received grants from three Darden restaurants in Lake City!  These funds are designated to help youth aging out of foster care with tools or supplies they need to attend higher education and/or obtain employment.  Thank you RED LOBSTER, OLIVE GARDEN, and LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE, all located on US HWY 90 in Lake City for choosing CDS as the recipient of your donations.  To read the full press release, click here. 


11-19-13  PFLAG* of Gainesville members collected items to donate to the CDS Interface Youth Shelter during their November meeting.   For the whole story and photo, please click here.

If your group is interested in supporting CDS Interface Youth Shelters by organizing a collection of necessary items, please use this wish list.  THANKS!!


Helping Homeless LGBTQ Youth

CDS is working with PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to address the over representation of youth on the streets who identify themselves as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning).  Some studies show that up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ!  CDS participated in the Summer Summit that focused on LGBTQ homelessness held on Saturday, August 17, at UF and is exploring ways in which CDS/Interface Youth Shelters can help this population stay safe – either through staying at the shelter and/or by helping to resolve conflicts/unacceptance issues at home.  Click to see the Gainesville Sun article published on Sunday, 8/18/13.   

North Florida School Days Articles

CDS has a monthly column in North Florida School Days.  This magazine goes home with all students in Alachua County public schools and is available free of charge in many offices.  Here are some of the articles that were published.

June 2015 “Freedom Celebrations” – Most Americans know about Independence Day on the 4th of July but there is another freedom celebration “Juneteenth” that is becoming more popular locally with programs offered at the Resource Centers

May 2015 “Summertime” – Exploring strategies for childcare in the summer with emphasis on needs for low-income or single parents

April 2015 “Spotlight on Youth” – All about the history of CDS signature event/teen talent show Spotlight on Youth

March 2015 “Helping Girls in Africa” – Interview with Keeper of the Dream scholarship award winner, Joni Perkins, talks about the injustice of girls in Africa losing out on educational opportunities due to lack of sanitary supplies and what her Girl Scout troop is doing about it

February 2015 “Freedom of Speech” –  Teach your children that the true freedom of speech is to make sure what you say is true, beneficial, and kind

January 2015 “Engaging Cooperation” – Helpful tips for parents to reduce conflict and increase the cooperative spirit in their families

November 2014 “Beyond Acceptance – Embracing What Is” – Parents may fantasize about what their children will be like but must eventually learn to accept – and embrace – what actually is

October 2014 “The Boogie Man is Real” – About modern day “boogie men” who are luring children into sexual activities and making them into human trafficking victims

September 2014 “Youth PROMISE Act and Summer Heatwave” – Locally developed program to help at-risk youth is a good example of the types of programs that could be funded by Youth PROMISE Act if it is passed

June 2014 “Summer Camps – More than Fun” – Some of life’s best learning is done over the summer at camp

May 2014 “Take 25” – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children urges all parents to “take 25 minutes” to talk to their children and teens about safety

April 2014 “Smart911” – How to receive better help through the 9-1-1 system by registering critical information before you or your family members need help

February 2014 “Show Your Love” – Valentine theme – make a date with your child

January 2014  “Depression or Winter Blues” – Some information about depression in children and youth

November 2013 “Resources for Your Family” – An overview of services offered by CDS

October 2013 “Embracing the Second Choice” – Positive ways to cope with life’s disappointments

September 2013 “Teaching Tolerance, Embracing Diversity” – About the importance of teaching our children to treat everyone with respect, in spite of apparent differences.

May & June 2013 “Not My Child” – An interview with local author Anna Azabi about her struggles with her son and his addictions as described in her book, A Mother’s Challenge for Life – Volume 1.   Includes advice for parents.

April 2013 “Child Abuse Prevention” – Information about local resource centers that are helping to reduce the need for children to enter into the foster care system.  This is being done by helping the parents.

March 2013 “Spotlight on Youth” – An interview with high school student Sita Selvester who has been watching Spotlight on Youth each year.  This year she will be old enough to perform – as both a dancer and master of ceremonies.

February 2013 “Toy Guys & The Miniature Motorcycle” – An article all parents of pre-school age children will appreciate – a true story about readying my son for an outing when he was 3 1/2 years old – with an added perspective 20 years later.

January 2013 “The Three Point Plan” – Based on personal experience with a couple of young foster children who needed a plan to get along with people in the world, this article can help parents teach their children better social skills.