Information & Resources for Polk County


Go to Social Services,  Support Groups, or Service Providers for Polk


Local Advocacy & Resource Organizations


Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)

(serves Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.)
University of South Florida
Department of Child & Family Studies

College of Behavioral & Community Sciences
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. MHC 2113-A
Tampa, Fl 33612-3899
(813) 974-2532; In Florida (800) 333-4530; (813) 974-6115 (fax)



Center For Independent Living of Central Florida (Satellite Office)

Serves DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, and Polk Counties

Founded in 1976 by Central Floridians dedicated to helping people with disabilities achieve their self-determined goals for independent living. CIL is a consumer-driven organization whose philosophy is based on peer role models: people with disabilities empowering people with disabilities and their families on the road to independence.

500 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801

Phone: (863) 413-2722   Toll Free: (888) 263-6692  Website:


Family Care Council Area 14

Established in 1993 by Florida Statute, the Family Care Council (FCC) advises the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) on the needs of self-advocates and their families.  The 14 local Family Care Councils work with APD in educating, advocating, and empowering families of persons with developmental disabilities (DD).  They also assist APD with the delivery of services to persons receiving Med-Waiver funds.  Statewide Website:   Click on "14" on map for local contact information.


Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS)

FDLRS (pronounced Fiddlers) provides diagnostic and instructional support services to district exceptional student education programs and families of students with exceptionalities statewide. FDLRS supports the State education goals of high student achievement, safe schools, and high performing workforce. FDLRS activities reflect these goals and demonstrate outcomes toward accomplishing them. Statewide Website:


FDLRS Sunrise

(Covers Hardee & Polk Counties)

Polk County Office:

5204 US Hwy. 98

Lakeland, FL 33813

(863) 647-4258  Website:


Florida Lions Camp

Private, nonprofit camp established and dedicated to serving the needs of youth and adults with visual impairments and other challenging disabilities.  All individuals, five years of age or older, are eligible to attend.  A variety of traditional summer camp activities abound; swimming, canoeing, fishing, hiking, camping out and cooking over a fire , games, arts & crafts, singing & dancing, hay-wagon rides, challenge course and much more. Activities are adapted to the age and ability of each camper to ensure maximum participation, safety and fun.


Social Services


Children's Medical Services (CMS)

The Children's Medical Services (CMS) program provides children with special health care needs with a family centered, managed system of care. Children with special health care needs are those children under age 21 whose serious or chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions require extensive preventive and maintenance care beyond that required by typically healthy children.  Website:  The website provides contact information by Region of the State.



(Covers Hardee, Highland & Polk Counties)
4718 Old Highway 37th South                                              
Lakeland, FL  33813
(863) 701-1151
Asst. Regional Medical Director: Timothy Gompf, M.D.
Asst. Regional Medical Director: William Ray, M.D.
Regional Nursing Director: Joanne Angel, R.N.
Regional Program Administrator: Patty Kopp


Early Steps

Early Steps is administered by Children's Medical Services (CMS) in accordance with IDEA, Part C.  Early Steps offers early intervention services for families with infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) who have developmental delays or an established condition likely to result in a developmental delay.  Sixteen contracted local Early Steps across the state coordinate with community agencies and other contracted providers for the delivery of needed supports and services. Toll Free Phone:  888-654-440  Website:


Lakeland Early Steps

4718 Old Highway 37, #1002

Lakeland, FL 33812


Louise Solomon, RN



Infants & Young Children West Central FL., Inc.

(Covers Hillsborough & Polk Counties)

1308 W. Sligh Avenue

Tampa, FL 33604                                        

813-375-3980/ Fax: 813-375-3984

Pat Grosz – Director/ e-mail:



Support Groups


Central Florida Autism Institute

Central Florida Autism Institute (CFAI) is a non-profit grass roots organization started by families of children with autism and by concerned professionals. Together we desire simple options of dignity for our children with autism. We use the term "options" when we proclaim rights for people with disabilities. We believe they have the right to live their lives with dignity, growth, and development within their own communities... rights jointly claimed by all citizens.

P.O. Box 2292
Lakeland, FL 33806 

(863) 680-1396   Website:


Florida Families For Children With Visual Impairments

FFCVI is a group created by Florida parents for Florida parents to focus on the unique needs of families with blind or visually impaired children, including those with other disabilities. This organization was established to help develop opportunities for families with similar challenges and experiences to network and share information and support.

PO Box 730265
Ormond Beach FL 32173-0265

(386) 677-7760 or (813) 926-0122  Website:  E-mail:



(Parental Education & Encouragement for Autism in Children Everywhere)

Our mission is to educate, empower and provide a positive support environment to families with
children on the Autism Spectrum. Website:

Meetings are held the First Tuesday of each month from 6PM to 8PM at: 

Family Fundamentals

1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd., 2nd Floor
Lakeland, Florida  33805



Service Providers


Beth Ingram Therapy Services

Community-based private physical, occupational and speech language therapy practice committed to professional assessment and treatment of a wide variety of functional limitations.  We not only serve pediatric patients birth-21 years of age but also the adult population.  We have six locations in the Tampa Bay region in order to best suit the patient’s needs. 

Bartow Office: 550 East Main St., Bartow, FL 33830.  Phone: (813) 519-4563






Parent Training & Information Center:

Central Florida Parent Center / AWARE Project

Milagros Pou, Diane Joslin, or Eileen Gilley

Home Office - (888) 612-9273

or (727) 789-2400


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