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About Centers for Independent Living (CILs)

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) empower persons with disabilities to take charge of their lives and guide their own destinies. In addition, CIL staff, boards, and consumers work together to remove barriers and prejudices in society so that all individuals can live and work and enjoy all that their communities have to offer. Fifty-one percent of the staff and boards of CILs are persons with disabilities, which means that they play significant roles in the decision-making responsibilities of the Centers.

Nineteen percent of all Florida residents have a disability. That number may seem high, but remember that not all disabilities are visible. The Florida network of 17 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) serve persons with all types of disabilities. CILs serve all ages from children to seniors. Every Florida county is served by this network, both urban and rural areas. Over the last fiscal year, CILs served more than 16,000 persons with disabilities, offering unique and wide diversity of services designed to maximize the ability for persons with disabilities to live and work in their communities.

The CILs are federally mandated under Section 725 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998. They are funded with Federal and State dollars, and through local community grants and private donations. CILs fall under the authority of the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and serve as the pre-employment readiness component to that program. CILs are represented through the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living (FACIL) as an advocacy and support organization.

Four Core Services

Information & Referral
The CIL is a clearinghouse of information for consumers.

Independent Living Skills
The CILs assist consumers with skill develoment in areas such as money management, goal setting accessing transportation, and finding and using assistive technology, employment readiness, and social skills.

Peer Mentoring & Networking
The CILs offer peer support and mentoring in group settings and for individuals that share like disabilities to support each other.

The CILS assist consumers in areas of individual and system advocacy skills. The Centers also educate consumers and the community regarding roles and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act.

More Services Offered by CILs

Each CIL also offers unique services tailored to the needs of its community, including but not limited to: home modifications, equipment loans and repair, computer skills training, recreational activities and community events.

Other CIL initiatives include:

  • Youth Transition from School to Work to Independence
  • Accessibility Services Such as Home Modifications
  • Community Education on Accessibility
  • Nursing Home Transition/Diversion
  • Pre-employment Services
  • Employment Services
  • Crime Victims Advocacy
  • Exercise and Recreational Activities
  • Support Groups
  • Loan Closets of Durable Medical Equipment
  • Interpreting Services
For more information on CILs in Florida, see the "Map of Florida's CILs" for a link to the CIL near you.