Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q:When will my client/relative be admitted to a state treatment facility?

A: Individuals are placed on a waiting list and scheduled for admission to a forensic facility based on the date of receipt of the complete commitment package. Upon availability of appropriate space, the local sheriff's department will be notified and will be responsible for arranging transportation to the facility..

Q:Where will my client/relative go?

A: Individuals are generally admitted to the facility with available space at the time. When possible, individuals are admitted to the facility closest to the committing court and/or family. The Department of Children & Families operates or contracts for the operation of the following forensic facilities:

  • Florida State Hospital - Forensic Service is a co-ed facility located in Chattahoochee, Florida (capacity to serve 469 individuals)
  • North Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center is an all male facility located in Gainesville, Florida (capacity to serve 193 individuals)
  • South Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center is a co-ed facility located in Florida City, Florida (capacity to serve 238 individuals)
  • Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center is an all male facility located in Indiantown, Florida (capacity to serve 208 individuals)
Q:How long will my client/relative be in the state treatment facility?

A: Length of stay in a treatment facility varies among individuals. It is dependent upon the individuals participation in therapeutic activities and his/her response to treatment.

Q:How long will competency restoration take?

A: Time required to restore competency varies among individuals. It is dependent upon the individual's participation in therapeutic activities and his/her response to treatment.

Q:What is the difference between a civil and a forensic facility?

A: A civil facility is a mental health facility established within the Department of Children & Families to serve individuals committed pursuant to Chapter 394 broken link , F.S. (The Baker Act), and those defendants committed pursuant to Chapter 916 broken link, F.S. (forensic clients committed as incompetent to proceed or not guilty by reason of insanity), who do not require the security provided in a forensic facility.

A forensic facility is a separate and secure facility established within the Department to serve forensic clients. Forensic facilities are security-grade buildings and with the exception of Florida State Hospital, are located on grounds distinct in location from other facilities for persons with a mental illness.

Q:How often may I visit my relative?

A: Family visits are very often therapeutic and therefore are encouraged by an individual's recovery team. Visiting hours and visitation policies vary by facility. Contact your relative's treatment facility for information regarding visitation policies and recommendations for frequency of visits.

Q:What is the criteria for admission to a forensic facility?

A: Forensic facilities admit individuals who are mentally ill and who have been committed to the Department of Children & Families pursuant to Chapter 916, F.S., and:

  1. Who have been determined to need treatment for a mental illness;
  2. Who have been found incompetent to proceed on a felony offense or have been acquitted of a felony offense by reason of insanity;
  3. Who have been determined by the Department to:
    a. Be dangerous to themselves or others; or
    b. Present a clear and present potential to escape; and
  4. Who are adults or juveniles prosecuted as adults;

Click here to learn how to refer an individual for services.

Q:What is required in the admission packet?

A: A commitment/admission packet must include:

  1. Commitment Order
  2. Copies of all Psychiatric/Psychological Evaluations ordered by the court
  3. Charging instrument and all supporting affidavits or other documents used in the determination of probable cause
Q:How is a forensic facility different from a Baker Act/CSU facility?

A: A CSU is a crisis stabilization unit or receiving facility. They are private or public facilities that provide emergency treatment and evaluations for involuntary commitment under Chapter 394, F.S. (Baker Act). Individuals found to meet the criteria for involuntary commitment under the Baker Act are admitted to one of the state's civil hospitals. Forensic facilities serve individuals that have been committed for treatment under Chapter 916, F.S.

Q:Will my relative be free from criminal prosecution when his/her competency has been restored?

A: Not necessarily. Restoration of competency simply allows the court to move forward through the legal process. The decision to prosecute or not will be determined later by the state attorney.

Q:How long can an individual legally remain Incompetent To Proceed/Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity?

A: Chapter 916.145, F.S., states "The charges against any defendant adjudicated incompetent to proceed due to the defendant's mental illness shall be dismissed without prejudice to the state if the defendant remains incompetent to proceed five years after such determination, unless the court in its order specifies its reasons for believing that the defendant will become competent to proceed within the foreseeable future and specifies the time within which the defendant is expected to become competent to proceed. The charges against the defendant are dismissed without prejudice to the state to refile the charges should the defendant be declared competent to proceed in the future."

An acquittal of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGBRI) is an adjudication by the court. The individual remains NGBRI of the charge(s) indefinitely and cannot be retried on the same charge(s). However, the court may maintain jurisdiction and may commit the individual to the Department of Children & Families for inpatient treatment or order treatment and supervision in the community under the terms of a conditional release.

  • If committed to the Department for inpatient treatment, the treating facility must file, a report with the court within six months of the individual's admission, prior to the end of any extended period of treatment or at any time the administrator or designee determines that the individual no longer meets the criteria for involuntary commitment.
  • Individuals placed on conditional release may remain under court supervision until such time that the court determines they no longer require court supervision.
Q:How do I arrange a community placement for my relative?

A: Placement in the community is a treatment decision and should be made in consultation with the individual's service team, community case manager and the committing court. Family members are encouraged to be involved in their relatives treatment to the extent allowed by the individual and can provide input in to decisions regarding placement and services received in the community.

Q:May I request admission to a specific forensic facility?

A: All four forensic facilities offer equally excellent programs and services. Individuals are generally admitted to the facility with available space at the time. When possible, individuals are admitted to the facility closest to the committing court and/or family. Transfers between forensic facilities are allowed and can be initiated by written request to the facility administrator.

Q:Are there evaluation and commitment process differences for individuals with a mental illness and individuals with mental retardation?

A: There are differences in the evaluation process and commitment criteria for individuals with a mental illness and individuals with mental retardation. See Part III of Chapter 916, F.S., broken link on website for information. Should be:  http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0900-0999/0916/0916ContentsIndex.html&StatuteYear=2012&Title=%2D%3E2012%2D%3EChapter%20916