Residential Treatment Centers

What is a residential treatment center?

A residential treatment center is a placement you would go to get treatment for a mental health diagnosis.

Are there different types of residential treatment centers?

Yes, the two types are called a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) or a Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Program (SIPP). Both of these placements require an evaluator to examine you to see if you meet the qualifications for either of these placements.

What is a QRTP and how is it different from a SIPP placement?

A QRTP is a type of therapeutic group home. It is considered “less restrictive” than a SIPP placement in 5 ways:

  1. It is a non-secure, unlocked facility
  2. Although it is a group home setting, it is not a hospital or medical facility
  3. Seclusion (being locked alone in a room) is not allowed 
  4. Mechanical restraints and drugs used as restraints are not allowed
  5. Physical restraint may be used only during possible emergency or crisis situations, and for no more than 30 minutes.

What is the process to see if I qualify for this type of placement?

If you are having serious mental health struggles that are getting in the way of your everyday life, your case manager may request you to have an assessment to see if you qualify for residential treatment. This is how the process would look:

  1. The Department would arrange for you to have an assessment done by a “qualified evaluator,” which is a mental health specialist who is trained to determine if you would benefit from residential treatment.
  2. Qualified evaluator will do an assessment and recommend either (1) Statewide Inpatient Psychiatric Program (SIPP), (2) Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) or (3) no higher level of care
  3. The state must provide the court notice of assessment and request you to be appointed a Guardian ad litem and an attorney if you don’t already have one. ** This part is very important, because you would be going into a more restrictive setting you must have a Guardian ad litem to advocate for your best interests and an attorney to advocate for your position and protect your legal rights during the process. **
  4. If the assessor believes you need to be placed immediately, the Department may place you in a treatment center before a court hearing, although this is very rare.
  5. If the assessment recommends placement in a residential treatment center (either a SIPP or QRTP), the Department will file a motion with the court. This motion must be heard within 48 hours of filing. The Department will request a court order for you to be placed in a residential treatment center at this hearing.
  6. Your attorney must have notice and must be present at this hearing. You also have the right to be present and should attend.
  7. If all parties (including you!) agree to the placement, the court can order you be placed into residential treatment. However, if anyone objects, including you, the court must set a hearing within 10 days. At this hearing, the Department will present evidence on why they believe you need this level of care, and you and your attorney will also be able to present evidence and explain your side.
  8. The judge will make a decision after this hearing on if you should go into residential treatment.
  9. If the judge orders you into residential treatment, the facility must work with you to create a treatment plan and it must be given to the Department within 10 days of placement. The treatment center must submit reports of your progress to the Department every 30 days and these reports must also be filed with the court. Additionally, a hearing must be set within 60 days to discuss your progress and if the placement is still appropriate for you. You will also have another assessment at this time where an evaluator will determine if you still need this level of placement.
  10. After that, you will continue to have assessments every 90 days by a qualified evaluator and a hearing will occur every 90 days to review the recommendation in the assessment and discuss your progress. You have the right to attend these hearings and can object to the recommendation of the evaluator at any time if you disagree with remaining in residential treatment.

Can I be restrained or secluded in a Residential Treatment Center?

Yes, you can be restrained or secluded (locked alone in a room) in a Residential Treatment Center, but only in “limited emergency situations” Only a licensed staff member of a Residential Treatment Center may order the use of restraints or seclusion. When the emergency situation ends, any restraints used during the emergency situation must be removed.

When should restraints or seclusion not be used?

A Residential Treatment Center must not use restraints or seclusion for punishment because they do not have enough staff, or for any other reason that is not an emergency situation of a Residential Treatment Center. The use of restraints must not hurt or injure you in any way. The use of restraints also cannot prevent you from walking, unless the emergency situation happens in a place where you are in a car or walking to or from a car. Each time a restraint or seclusion is used the staff must note this in your record.

How long can I be restrained or secluded for?

Children ages (9-17) can be restrained or secluded for no more than 2 hours at a time, and for no more than 6 hours in a 24 hour period. Children under the age of 9 can be restrained or secluded for no more than 1 hour at a time, and for no more than 3 hours in a 24 hour period.

What behaviors could cause the use of restraints or seclusion?

An “emergency circumstance” that might cause the use of restraints or seclusion is an event where you are a danger to yourself or others, or an event where another youth at the treatment center is a danger to you. Florida law doesn’t give examples of what would cause you to be restrained or secluded.However, examples of behavior that might lead to the use of restraints or seclusion include being a danger to yourself or a danger to others.

What are my rights when I am placed in a Residential Treatment Center?

While you are under the care of a Residential Treatment Center, you still have constitutional rights You have a right to the least restrictive treatment available to you. If you or your parent or guardian can pay must not be considered when choosing which methods of treatment are right for you. If you are age 18 or older, you must consent (agree) to go to a Residential Treatment Center and you must consent (agree) to any type of treatment. If you are 17 or younger, your parent or guardian must consent for you to go to a Residential Treatment Center and any type of treatment, or there must be an order from the court.You have the right to quality treatment and to be treated safely and humanely. You may talk freely and privately with people outside the Residential Treatment Center. The Residential Treatment Center may take your personal property for medical and safety reasons, but they must keep track of them and return your items to you when you leave. You have the right to vote if you are old enough to do so (must be 18). You have the right to take part in treatment planning and discharge planning.

What can I do if I believe my rights are being violated?

At any time, and without notice, you, or a relative, friend, guardian, guardian advocate, representative, or attorney, on behalf of you, may file a petition stating that you are being unjustly denied a right or privilege or that a procedure involving your treatment is being abused.Once the petition is filed, the court can hold a hearing and issue any order needed to correct an abuse of your rights.

The Law

Fla. Stat. Sec. 39.407, 394.459, Fla. Admin. Code 65E-9.006, 9.013, Fl Rules Juv. Proc 8.350, Fl Admin Code 65c-27.002, 28.021, 35.013

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