For Court Personnel
The Juvenile Incompetent to Proceed (JITP) program is available for youth that are facing felony charges, but who court personnel believe to be incompetent due to mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. Youth who are incompetent due to age, immaturity, lack of knowledge, or cognitive issues that are not a diagnosable mental illness cannot receive services in this program due to statutory limitations. Two services are offered: Community-Based Services and Secure Residential Services.
Community services are provided to juveniles in their home, foster care home, detention or at their school by Twin Oaks Forensic Outpatient Services (TOFOS). Case management and competency training are the focus of the program. Mental health services are not provided, but are coordinated by the juvenile's case manager. Services provided under the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) are provided by that agency’s support coordinators.
Secure Residential Services:
Juveniles determined by the court to require treatment/training in a secure residential setting are served at Apalachicola Forest Youth Camp (AFYC) located in Liberty County, Florida. AFYC is a 39 bed facility operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc. under contract with the Department of Children and Families. It is located on a 78 acre site located in a wilderness area. Security measures include cameras and a 14 foot high fence. The buildings are constructed as log homes. The facility consists of six 7 -8 - person cabins with individual bedrooms, an education building with six classrooms, a professional building with 24-hour nursing coverage and an administrative building.
For more details about TOFOS or AFYC, please see their website at http://www.twinoaksfl.org
Requirements for the program:
For a youth to be found incompetent and committed to DCF for services two court appointed evaluators must assess competency. Things to look for in evaluations include:
Clear and convincing evidence that the youth is incompetent due to mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. A diagnosis alone does not mean that is what causes the incompetency.
The cause of incompetency is specifically stated, and if a mental illness is the cause they must provide the diagnostic name and basis of the mental illness.
All competency areas are assessed and addressed in the evaluation.
Restorability of the youth is addressed. Youth who are considered non-restorable should not be committed for services.
If an intellectual disability or autism is the suspected cause of incompetency than evaluations must be done by APD to confirm diagnosis. Only APD evaluators can diagnose an intellectual disability or autism as the cause of incompetency.
Case law requires that the evaluations be written within the 6 months prior to the court’s current finding of incompetence.
Evaluations must address if the youth meets the criteria for secure residential or community-based training.
Youth who are incompetent due to other reasons, such as age or cognitive issues, can be found incompetent to proceed but cannot be committed to DCF for restoration services.
For model orders or motions, please click link on the left. Other helpful links:
JITP Statute: Chapter 985.19, F.S.
Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure (click Juvenile Procedure halfway down the page, look for Rule 8.095 - Procedure When Child Believed To Be Incompetent Or Insane beginning on page 49 - Adobe Reader required).
Definition of Mental Illness for the purpose of competency: Chapter 916.106, F.S.
Definition of Intellectual Disability or Autism: Chapter 393 ,F.S.
Tony McCoy, Ph.D.
JITP Statewide Coordinator
Mental Health Treatment Facilities
Department of Children and Families
1317 Winewood Blvd., Bldg. 6, 3rd Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32399