By Craig Coffey, Flagler County Administrator
In April 2014, Flagler County implemented CTTU: Crisis Triage and Transport Unit, a program designed to improve services for adults in mental health crisis who require screening and transport to a Baker Act Receiving Facility, and simultaneously improve utilization of law enforcement resources. CTTU is funded by a grant from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families, matched by the County.
Through a partnership between Flagler County and Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, a crisis-screening and transport hub was established within the county, operating noon to midnight daily. Key components include appropriate clinical disposition and transport to, and from, Baker Act receiving facilities. Additionally, residents are linked with continuing mental health services and monitored by CTTU staff for one year.
Before activation of the CTTU, difficulties facing the county and its residents were numerous:
- A Baker Act Receiving Facility does not exist in Flagler County. Neither local nor state government has one under consideration due to the considerable cost. Closest facilities are located in neighboring Volusia County.
- The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, involved in upwards of 350 Baker Act proceedings annually (including transport), estimated that available law enforcement in Flagler County was being reduced by the equivalent of almost one deputy each month.
- Hardships were created for residents transported out of county for assessment, who were then responsible for finding transportation home from Volusia.
In the first 17 months of operation alone, the CTTU was responsible for:
- 570 persons served, representing 73% of a three year target
- 136 clients diverted from Baker Act admissions
- 78 clients diverted from Marchman Act admissions
- 82 clients diverted from arrest
This outside-the-box-thinking produced positive outcomes. Individuals are receiving the services needed and officers are kept within the county, no longer serving as transporters.