Juvenile Incompetent to Proceed Program (JITP)
For Families - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is eligible for services from the Juvenile Incompetent to Proceed Program?
A: Competency restoration services are provided to juveniles who have been charged with a felony prior to their 18th birthday and do not have the ability to participate in legal proceedings due to their mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism. Diagnostic categories include all major mental disorder classifications included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that are noted as mental illness per Chapter 916 & 394, Florida Statutes, and Axis II intellectual disability or autism diagnosis as defined in Chapter 393, Florida Statutes
Q: What is the referral process?
A: Once a child has been determined incompetent to proceed by the court, the Clerk of Courts is responsible for sending the packet to the JITP statewide coordinator at the Department of Children and Families (DCF). If all of the requirements for the program are met the packet is then sent to the provider for processing.
Q: My child has been ordered for community competency services – what is the next step?
When there is no waiting list, youth are scheduled for admission to the Twin Oaks Forensic Outpatient Services (TOFOS) program within a few days of the referral being sent to the provider. If the program is at capacity, a waitlist will be maintained by DCF, prioritized based upon the date a complete admission packet was received. TOFOS staff will contact you directly for the intake session. You can find more details about TOFOS on their website at: http://www.twinoaksfl.org
Q: My child has been ordered for secure competency services – what is the next step?
A: When there is no waiting list, youth are scheduled for admission to the Apalachicola Forest Youth Camp (AFYC) within a few days of the referral being sent to the provider. If the program is at capacity, a waitlist will be maintained by DCF, prioritized based upon the date a complete admission packet was received. AFYC staff will contact you directly regarding the intake process; DJJ provides the transportation to the facility from your local detention center. You can find more details about AFYC on their website at http://www.twinoaksfl.org
Q: Do I have to pay for these services?
A: No, this program is funded by DCF. Only youth committed to DCF for the purpose of competency restoration qualify for these services.
Q: How long can a juvenile legally remain Incompetent to Proceed?
A: Chapter 985.19(5)(a), F.S., states:
"If a child is determined to be incompetent to proceed, the court shall retain jurisdiction of the child for up to 2 years after the date of the order of incompetency, with reviews at least every 6 months to determine competency.”
Chapter 985.19(5)(c), F.S. states:
"If the court determines at any time that the child will never become competent to proceed, the court may dismiss the delinquency petition. If, at the end of the 2-year period following the date of the order of incompetency, the child has not attained competency and there is no evidence that the child will attain competency within a year, the court must dismiss the delinquency petition. If appropriate, the court may order that proceedings under section 393 or section 394 be instituted."
Q:Once my child's competency is restored, what can I expect to happen?
A: If it is the determination of the evaluator that the child is competent to proceed, the evaluation will then be forwarded to the court with a request for a hearing. The court shall determine the date and time of the hearing. Once the matter is heard before the court and the competency determination accepted, a motion is made to have the child deemed competent to proceed and the court will determine the disposition of the legal charges. Upon this order of the court, all services through these programs cease and the child is discharged from TOFOS/AFYC. The program discourages contact with program staff and independent contractors after discharge due to ethical concerns of lack of a treatment relationship.
Q: Who can I contact for further information?
A: For programmatic questions regarding TOFOS or AFYC consult their website for contact information. The contact for DCF is:
Leslie A. Dellenbarger, Psy.D.
JITP Statewide Coordinator
Mental Health Treatment Facilities
Department of Children & Families
2415 North Monroe Street
Suite 400, B-214
Tallahassee, FL 32303