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Unified Family Court

Mental Health

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Incapacity - Fla. St. 744.3201

A Petition to Determine Incapacity may be filed when it is necessary that the Court determine whether an adult person lacks the capacity to manage at least some of his/her property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements to care for his/her person. A Petition to Determine Incapacity may be executed by an adult person. Once the petition is filed, an examining committee is appointed and an attorney is appointed to represent the alleged Incapacitated Person. The Examining Committee must be composed of a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist or Gerontologist and a Layperson. The Examining Committee files a written report. The hearing is usually set within 14 days of the filing of the petition.

Baker Act - Involuntary Examination - Florida Statute 394.463

A Petition for Involuntary Examination may be filed when there is reason to believe an individual is mentally ill and because of that mental illness has refused voluntary help. There would also be reason to believe that the person is unable to determine for themselves that examination is necessary and without care and treatment the individual will suffer from neglect that would pose a real threat to their well-being. Circumstances may also be that no willing family members or friends are available or there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to themselves or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior. A patient may not be held in a receiving facility for involuntary examination longer than 72 hours.

Baker Act - Involuntary Placement - Florida Statute 394.467

A Petition for Involuntary Placement may be filed by the administrator of a facility licensed by the Department of Children and Families under Florida Statute 394. Once filed, the petition must be heard within 5 days. The Public Defender is appointed to represent the patient. A Magistrate goes to the facility to preside at the hearing. One of the doctors who signed the petition must be a witness. If the court concludes that the patient meets the criteria for involuntary placement, it shall order that the patient be transferred to a treatment facility for a period of up to six months.

Marchman Act- Involuntary Assessment - Florida Statute 397.6811

A Petition for Involuntary Assessment may be filed when there is good faith reason to believe an individual is substance-abuse impaired and because of that impairment, has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use. The Petition is filed with the Clerk of Court and must be set for hearing within 10 days. Notice of hearing is provided by mail to the petitioners. The patient is served notice of hearing by a plainclothes Deputy Sheriff.

A Magistrate presides at the hearing. After hearing all relevant testimony, the court may enter an Order for Involuntary Assessment. Unless arrangements have been made for assessment at a private facility, the court order shall direct the Sheriff's Office to take the patient into custody and deliver him/her to a public facility licensed by the Department of Children and Families.

The facility will assess and stabilize the patient for a period not to exceed 5 days. A written assessment is sent to the court. Once the written assessment is received, the court may proceed with the Petition For Involuntary Treatment.

Marchman Act- Involuntary Treatment - Florida Statute 397.693

A Petition for Involuntary treatment may be filed once the written assessment is reviewed by the court and the recommendation is involuntary treatment. Notice of hearing is provided by mail to the petitioners and any attorney on record. The patient is once again served notice of hearing by a plainclothes Deputy Sheriff. A Magistrate presides at the hearing and after taking all relevant testimony, the court may enter an order for involuntary treatment for a period not to exceed 60 days. It may also direct the Sheriff to take the patient into custody and deliver him or her to the licensed facility.

Restoration to Capacity - Florida Statute 744.464

Any interested person may file a Suggestion of Capacity. The Suggestion of Capacity must state that the ward is currently capable of exercising some or all of the rights that were removed at the hearing to determine incapacity. The court will appoint a physician to examine the ward and a notice of filing the Suggestion of Capacity is sent to all interested persons including the State Attorney. The guardian is served by formal notice. If the medical examination suggests that restoration is not appropriate, a hearing is set and again all interested persons are noticed. At the hearing, the court shall enter an order either denying the Suggestion of Capacity or restoring all or some of the rights which were removed from the ward.

Tuberculosis Control - Florida Statute 392.56

The Department of Health may petition the Circuit Court to order a person who has active Tuberculosis to be hospitalized, placed in a health care facility or isolated from the general public. The person may be confined until such time as the risk of infection to the general public can be eliminated. A hearing is set with the court, notice is served on all parties and counsel is appointed for the patient. An Order For Hospitalization may be entered placing the patient for up to 180 days.

Adult Protective Services Act - Florida Statute 415.1051

The Department of Children and Families may petition the Circuit Court for an order authorizing the provision of protective services when there is reasonable cause to believe that a disabled or elderly person is being abused, neglected or exploited.

Notice of hearing and a copy of the petition are served on the alleged victim, the caretaker and any other interested parties. The petition is heard within 14 days after the petition is filed. Counsel is appointed for the alleged victim. If the court finds that the elderly or disabled person is in need of protective services, the court may issue an order authorizing protective services and specifying the services to be provided. No more than 60 days after the date of the initial order, the Department of Children and Families shall file a second petition to ask the court to determine if protective services should be continued or if a Petition To Determine Incapacity and a Petition for Guardianship should be filed.

Emergency Adult Protective Services - Florida Statute 415.1051 (2)

If a representative of the Department of Children and Families determines that an elderly or disabled person is likely to incur a risk of death or serious physical injury and lacks the capacity to consent to services, then the representative shall remove the person to an appropriate medical or protective services facility.

Within 24 hours of the removal, the department shall petition the court for an order authorizing protective services. Notice of hearing and a copy of the petition are sent to all interested parties. Counsel is appointed for the alleged victim. At the hearing the court will determine if an emergency existed when the removal took place and if an order continuing services should be entered. No more than 60 days after the order authorizing continuing services, the department shall petition the court to hold a hearing to determine if emergency services shall continue, be discontinued or if a Petition to Determine Incapacity and a Petition For Guardianship should be filed.

Developmental Disabilities - Involuntary Admission - Florida Statue 393.11

A petition for involuntary admission may be filed by a petitioning commission consisting of three adults one of whom must be a licensed physician. The petition must state that a person with mental retardation needs residential services provided by the Department of Children and Families. A hearing is set, counsel appointed for the patient and an examining committee is summoned. The examining committee must include a licensed physician, a licensed psychologist and a professional with expertise in developmental disabilities. The examining committee must prepare a report and testify at the hearing. The hearing must be held as soon as practicable after the petition is filed. A Magistrate may preside at the hearing. If the court finds that the individual meets the criteria for involuntary admission, an order is entered by the court directing the department to place the person in the most appropriate, least restrictive facility available. An order authorizing involuntary admission is never considered an adjudication of incapacity. The issue of incapacity must be treated separately under the requirements of Florida Statute 744.

Developmental Disabilities - Guardian Advocate - Florida Statute 393.12

A petition for guardian advocate may be executed by an adult person who is a resident of Florida. The petition must allege that a person with developmental disabilities needs a guardian advocate and lacks the ability to meet at least some of the essential requirements for his/her health or safety. The court sets a hearing date, counsel is appointed for the person with developmental disabilities and all interested persons are noticed of the hearing. At the hearing, the court shall receive and review all reports relevant to the person's disabilities. If the court finds that the person requires the appointment of a guardian advocate, the court shall enter a written order. Said order shall contain the findings of fact and conclusions of law. The order shall specify the exact powers and duties of the guardian advocate. Once the order is entered, the guardian advocate shall have the same powers and responsibilities required of a guardian under Florida Statute 744.