Mental Health

Protective Services – for aged or disabled persons in need of Protective Services

The Marchman Act was established to provide involuntary treatment for substances abuse (whether illegal drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol.) F.S. 397.

The Baker Act is used in cases where the person has a mental illness and meets all remaining criteria for voluntary or involuntary admission. F.S. 394.

To file a Baker Act or Marchman Act, go to the Courts Division located on the second floor of the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, 1769 E. Moody Blvd., Bldg 1, Bunnell, FL 32110. Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We can be contacted by telephone at 386-313-4497 or email

What is the fee for filing a Baker or Marchman petition?
There is no fee for filing a petition.

Who can sign a petition involving a juvenile?
Natural parent
Legal guardian
Legal custodian
Can an adult apply for voluntary admission?
Yes, an adult may apply for voluntary admission if found to show evidence of mental illness, to be competent to provide express and informed consent, and to be suitable for treatment. An individual can only apply for voluntary treatment at the treatment facility.

Marchman Act petitions that may be filed
A Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization
A Petition for Involuntary Treatment
When are petitions filed?
Marchman Act:
When there is reason to believe that a person is substance abuse impaired and:

Because of the impairment, he or she has lost the power of self control with respect to substance use.
The person’s judgment is impaired because of substance abuse and he/she is incapable of appreciating the need for, and is unable to make a rational decision in regards to, substance abuse services.
Baker Act:
When there is reason to believe that a person has inflicted, attempted or threatened to inflict, or unless admitted, is likely to inflict, physical harm on himself/herself or another.

Who may file a petition?
The person’s spouse or guardian, any relative of the person, a director of a licensed service provider, a private practitioner, or any three adults who have personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse impairment.
In the case of a minor, only the parents, legal guardian/custodian or licensed service provider can file a petition.
You will need to provide proper identification and have personally witnessed the individual’s actions.
A petitioner is sworn in at the Clerk’s Office as to the facts represented in the petition. (Any false statements may lead to perjury charges.)
The petition must be filed in the county where the person resides.
Where and when are petitions filed?
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at this location:
The Kim C. Hammond Justice Center
1769 E. Moody Blvd., Bldg 1
Bunnell, FL 32110
Second floor, Courts Division
How are voluntary and involuntary Baker Act admissions different?
A voluntary Baker Act admission occurs when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent of a minor, applies for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis, and treatment (this happens directly at a Mental Health facility).
An involuntary Baker Act admission occurs upon a finding by a court that (1) a person is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, he/she has refused voluntary placement for treatment or is unable to determine whether placement is necessary; (2) he/she is incapable of living alone or with help, and without treatment is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for him/herself, or there is a substantial likelihood in the near future that he/she will inflict serious bodily harm on him/herself/others as evidenced by recent behavior; and (3) all less restrictive treatment alternatives are not appropriate.           
What happens when an aged or disabled person lacks the capacity to consent to protective services?
The Adult Protective Services Act provides that if the Department of Children and Families determines that an aged or disabled person is being abused, neglected or exploited and is in need of protective services, but lacks the capacity to consent to protective services, the department shall petition the court for an order authorizing the provision of protective services. To initiate this proceeding contact the DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES at 210 North Palmetto Avenue, Suite 412, Daytona Beach, FL 32114 (386) 238-4765 or 1340 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL (386) 736-5511.

Where can I find further information?
Florida’s Baker Act Law is located in Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes
Chapter 397 of the Florida Statutes is known as the “Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993”. It provides for the involuntary or voluntary assessment and stabilization of a person allegedly abusing substances like drugs or alcohol, and provides for treatment of substance abuse. 

HOTLINE for abuse, neglected or exploitation of a disabled adult or aged person contact 1-800-962 2873.