Tuesday, August 9th, 2022, sees State Senator Ileana Garcia granting $400,000 in state funding she worked to secure this past senatorial term from the Department of Children & Families towards Involuntary Outpatient Services (IOS) Demonstration Project by Miami Foundation for Mental Health, Inc. The financing supports continuous implementation of IOS since the passage of SB12 in 2016 affecting change to the Baker Act. This statute amendment granted stronger authority within the criminal county court system to enforce involuntary examinations under the Baker Act for those that meet the specified criteria dictated by Florida law to engage in mandatory outpatient services.
IOS was originally birthed from a 2007 report by the Miami-Dade County Grand Jury entitled Shifting the Focus on Treating Mental Illness: A Common “Cents” Approach that recommended its establishment. The ensuing summary arose as a critical analysis of events leading up to the Virginia Tech University massacre that occurred in spring of the same year and the potential solutions to determine procedural and systemic failures that took place. This was particularly vital since the shooter had a previously extensive mental health history.
Proceeds support IOS observations, petition formations, court hearing expenses, and care assimilation. Various positive benefits are expected to result from its implementation such as: a reduction in admissions to inpatient care settings (i.e. state funded crisis stabilization, civil and forensic treatment centers), improving physical health by reducing unmet needs, collecting data reports on inpatient vs acute care environments, minimize recidivism into the criminal justice system, monthly reports of treatment and services engaged, and managing treatment compliance whilst measuring receipt of services received.