Our Philosophy

Duvall Homes, formerly known as Presbyterian Special Services DBA Duvall Home, has been a landmark in Central Florida for decades. Through an inspiring history, since 1945, we have helped thousands of people with developmental disabilities find a voice – a sense of self – a home.

Despite the challenges of Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and a myriad of other disabilities, friendships blossom at Duvall Homes, new self-care and daily-living skills are mastered and residents work within their own capacity to meet their own personal goals every day.

Glenwood Group Home
Duvall Homes, c.1952

As people with disabilities are becoming recognized for who they are and how unique and valued they are for their individuality with special contributions to make to society, Duvall Homes has always been, and continues to be, at the forefront. We are committed to maintaining an organization characterized by acceptance and welcome for all, where each individual is seen as exceptional, and entitled to personal growth, development and self-determination.

The accomplishments of Duvall Homes are reflected in the strength of our programs, in the commitment of our dedicated donors and staff…but most importantly, in the personal success stories of each of our residents.

Alanson and Thelma Duvall
Alanson and Thelma Duvall with their son, Alanson, Jr. c.1950

Duvall Homes Timeline

When the son of Alanson and Thelma Duvall was born with Down syndrome in 1935 in Pennsylvania, the Duvall’s resisted the typical practice encouraged at that time, to institutionalize their child; they began to care for him at home.

1945: After caring for their developmentally disabled son, Alanson “Choppy” Jr. for 10 years, they were interested in surrounding him with similarly diagnosed children and helping other families, but in a warmer climate, so they move from Pennsylvania to Satsuma, Florida, and take on the care of 17 additional children.

Duvall Homes c 1950
Alanson Duvall with Linda, the first little girl at Duvall Home. c. 1952

1952: After outgrowing their home, the Duvalls borrow $20,000 and move into a historic 1885 building in Glenwood, Florida, Volusia County, built by Isaac Smead, which at the time was a 30-room hotel called The Glenwood House since 1920. Taking on more and more developmentally disabled children, Alanson and Thelma Duvall eventually expand into the current 16-acre campus at 3395 Grand Avenue.

1966: The North Florida Presbytery assist Alanson and Thelma Duvall to continue their work and prepare to incorporate.

1968: The Duvall Home is incorporated as a 501(c)3 under the name United Presbyterian Special Services, Inc. (dba Duvall Home)

1978: Duvall Home purchases 247 acres north of DeLand and begins planning for group-home construction

1979 Choppy Duvall dies.

1982: Papa Duvall retires, handing over his duties to a new administrator.

1984: United Presbyterian Special Services, Inc. changes name to Presbyterian Special Services, Inc.

1986: Thelma Duvall dies.

Alanson and Thelma Duvall
Alanson and Thelma Duvall c. 1975

1994: Duvall Home opens two cottages on the new land and obtains licenses to care for 12 residents in each. These are Duvall Home’s first of five group homes on this property.

2000: Duvall’s long history as a non-institutionalized single group home changes over the years as the word spreads on the integrity, compassion and dedication of Duvall’s caring staff attracting an influx of families with children and relatives in similar need. At the height of the Presbyterian Special Services (DBA Duvall Home) census, it cares for approximately 250 residents. Governmental policy and attrition will eventually assist in reducing this figure by more than half.

2009: Duvall Home’s Day Training program at the Glenwood campus is licensed.

Duvall Group Homes
One of 16 Group Homes today in West Volusia County.

2014: Duvall Home begins transitioning all of its remaining residents at McGaffin Hall in Glenwood to group homes in north DeLand and in other areas in West Volusia County.

2015: Final move from McGaffin Hall is completed. Additional group homes continue to open, bringing the total to 16, driving a name change from Presbyterian Special Services (dba Duvall Home) to Duvall Homes to better reflect the organization’s expanding community footprint.