The Client Services Program
In 1999 the Public Defender developed the Client Services Program to work with Assistant Public Defenders to advocate for those clients that due to an addiction, mental health diagnosis or a developmental disability may require additional assistance to resolve their cases.
Client Services Specialists, with training in varying mental health behaviors, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse, and sentencing advocacy, work with the client, community providers and other professionals to assist attorneys in presenting a treatment plan to the Court when appropriate.
The Client Services Program can assist attorneys in:
v Identifying cases involving serious and persistent mental health disorders and developmental disabilities, which may involve incompetence to proceed or the insanity defense, and assists attorneys in the preparation and disposition of cases involving this population;
v Identifying available appropriate community treatment for mentally ill or intellectually disabled clients; assists with placement for the chronically mentally ill or intellectually disabled; and assists with the expeditious release of clients incarcerated in the County Jail;
v Acting as a liaison between the Department of Children and Families and the criminal court system to assist with clients who meet criteria for state hospital commitment to receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner and helps facilitate the clients return to the community;
v Monitoring clients committed to State Hospital or assists in a treatment plan for those clients being placed on conditional release; and
v Assisting eligible clients and their attorney with locating available substance abuse treatment programs.
The Client Services Program and its staff also operate all Diversion Courts within the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.
Mental Health Court operates in all four counties of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.
v Veterans Court operates in St Lucie and Indian River Counties.
v Drug Court operates in all four counties of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit.