Juvenile Forensic Evaluator Training and the Importance of Appointing Approved Forensic Evaluators as Experts
Section 985.19, F.S., mandates the Department of Children & Families maintain a roster of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals who have completed juvenile forensic competency evaluation training. The University of South Florida, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy provides training to mental health professionals on how to conduct juvenile forensic evaluations for the juvenile courts. The one day training program focuses on legal, clinical and administrative issues related to evaluating children who are involved with the juvenile justice system. The day long workshop reviews the law and clinical practices related to assessing children’s competence to proceed (competence to stand trial). Participants learn Florida laws and rules of juvenile procedure relevant to juvenile forensic evaluation, general legal principles relevant to forensic evaluation, and assessment techniques and procedures used in competency to proceed and mental state at the time of the offense.
For information regarding this training you may contact the University of South Florida, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy at (813) 974-7623 or SC 574-7623.
Section 98519(1)(d), F.S., states "For competency evaluations related to mental illness, the Department of Children and Family Services shall annually provide the courts with a list of professionals who have completed a training program approved by the Department and Family Services to perform evaluations." In compliance with this section, the Department mails an updated list to the chief judge in each circuit annually.
For incompetency evaluations related to mental retardation or autism, the court shall order the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to examine the child to determine if the child meets the definition of “retardation” or “autism” in s. 393.063 and, if so, whether the child is competent to proceed with delinquency proceedings
Section 985.19(1)(e),F.S., states "For incompetency evaluations related to mental retardation, the court shall order the Developmental Services Program Office within the Department of Children and Family Services to examine the child to determine if the child meets the definition of "retardation" in s. 393.063 and, if so, whether the child is competent to proceed with delinquency proceedings."
To obtain a current list of evaluators who have completed this course, please contact the JITP statewide coordinator Tina Weber, MA at SAMH_jitp@dcf.state.fl.us or 850-717-4283.