Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center Collecting School Supplies for 800 Local Children with Special Needs

Back to school will take on new meaning this year, as students return to the classroom, some for the first time in more than a year. Families will adapt, but for parents of children with special healthcare needs, this time of year is particularly stressful.  

To ease the financial burden for those families, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center (CDTC) hosts its 2021 Back to School Supply Drive from now through August 11 to collect and fill 800 backpacks for children in their care. 

CDTC care coordinators will invite families to a special on-site backpack brigade distribution on Thursday, August 12. During the outdoor brigade, where more than 500 families will be socially distanced, each child will personally choose their backpack that will be filled with supplies.  

Supplies are needed for students from pre-school through high school. The CDTC wish list includes all of the basics, including backpacks for all ages, paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, folders and notebooks.  

The annual Back to School Drive has become a tradition at CDTC, offering families an easy way to prepare their children for the classroom. With the backpack brigade, CDTC also reduces the added financial burden that, in 2020, averaged more than $130 for school supplies per child. 

“Thankfully, students and teachers in Broward County Public Schools will be back in the classroom, but this also means parents and students have to transition from remote learning tools to basic school supplies,” said Ana Calderon Randazzo, Ph.D., executive director of Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center. “We do everything in our power to help the families we serve and that includes helping them prepare for returning to the classroom. We are so grateful to the community that helps us make preparations for the new school year a little easier for these amazing and dedicated families.” 

The public and local businesses can collect and drop off school supplies or gift cards at CDTC, 1401. S. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. before August 11. To view CDTC’s back to school drive wish list or make a donation, please visit