It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But for some families in Florida, this time of the year is not as merry as the holiday songs portray. For some, the holidays are filled with increased stress and frustrations as families struggle with stress due to financial pressures and increased obligations. With school out and vacation from work, the increased time spent together can cause tempers to flare. In addition, with all of the holiday parties that occur, there is a rise in alcohol consumption, especially on New Year’s Eve, which can lead to decreased inhibitions and turbulent households with both children and adults at risk.

The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services wants to inform parents who are experiencing seemingly overwhelming stress and family members who are going through strife this holiday season that there is help. Our 29 member agencies and 28 shelters across the state are open every day of the year – including the holidays. We understand that in some homes, while many get a day off work, violence at home and the challenges that families face never rest. The Network works to make the holidays a little more joyful for each and every one of our youth and families who receive our services.

That’s why this year, we are encouraging executives, advocates and all others who want to eliminate violence at home, to take a stand by talking to our state legislators during Hill Day Feb. 9-10 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. This is just one way to take action against these difficulties and violence that happens all too often in families throughout the state 365 days a year.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence during the holidays – or any day of the year – find a Florida Network member agency or shelter near you, by visiting or calling (850) 922-4324.

Stacy Gromatski is the president and CEO of the Florida Network of Youth
and Family Services. She can be reached at