Juvenile Forensic Evaluators

Section 985.19, F.S., mandates that for competency evaluations related to mental illness, the Department of Children & Families must maintain a roster of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals who have completed juvenile forensic competency evaluation training. In compliance with this section, the Department mails an updated list to the chief judge in each circuit annually. The list includes those who have had the training, are licensed mental health professionals, and have indicated they are available to the courts to provide this service.

For competency evaluations related to an intellectual disability or autism, the court must order the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) to examine the child. Evaluators on the Department’s list cannot diagnose an intellectual disability or autism for the purpose of competency evaluations, as only APD appointed evaluators can do so per statute.

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 yearly workshop addresses the legal, clinical, and administrative issues related to evaluating children whose competence to proceed in the juvenile justice process is at issue.

For information regarding this training you may contact the University of South Florida, Department of Mental Health Law & Policy at (813) 974-4672, or view the training page of their website at: http://mhlp.fmhi.usf.edu/training/

Please click "Competency Evaluation Checklist" on the left for helpful information on conducting evaluations.