Safe Children Coalition Awarded State Funding



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SARASOTA, FL – Thanks to sponsors Representative Fiona McFarland, Senator Joe Gruters, and the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice, Safe Children Coalition has been awarded $750,000 in state funding in support of the construction of its new Youth Shelter. The new facility, which will be located on Sawyer Road in north Sarasota, sits on two acres of land (with another two acres available for future expansion of services), and will be nearly 9,000 square feet.

The Safe Children Coalition (SCC) Youth Shelter operates the only youth shelter, for ages 10-17, serving our community’s homeless and runaway youth, youths experiencing a lock-out from their family home and, most recently, youths who are unable to return home after a mental health crisis in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. The shelter takes youths from Manatee County as well. 

Teens at the shelter will have stable and safe shelter and transportation to and from school while working towards reunification with their families or other appropriate placement. Counseling, life skills training, additional wrap-around services, and ongoing assessments, will ensure better outcomes and much-needed stability, which will support the transition to a more successful adulthood. 

The new facility will provide customized sleeping arrangements designed to reduce the number of youths on a waiting list for safe shelter. The Youth Shelter will provide nearly 3,000 safe shelter bed-nights a year and serve up to 200 youth annually for many years to come. SCC has secured a location for the facility that is easily accessible by public transportation, walking, or bicycling.

“We are so grateful to Representative McFarland and Senator Joe Gruters as well as our local delegation and our colleagues at the Department for Juvenile Justice for supporting this project, and their affirmation of our work to protect children who are at risk, “said SCC President and CEO Brena Slater. “The Youth Shelter is – and will continue to be – a critical resource that will help to divert area youths from unsafe environments and give them the opportunity to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives in the future.” 

For more about Safe Children Coalition or to learn how you can support the effort to build the new Youth Shelter, contact Jacqueline House at or call 941-371-4799.