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For Immediate Release:                                          Contact:
May 10, 2018                                                           Melanie Mowry Etters
                                                                                  Communication Director


Closure of Carlton Palms Imminent

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Today, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) filed for a receivership of Carlton Palms to ensure a safe transition of all residents. APD is selecting a company to take over operations of the facility after Bellwether Behavioral Health notified APD that it will cease operations in Florida on May 31, 2018. APD’s action to revoke Carlton Palms license is ongoing. Bellwether also notified the agency that it intends to close its two six-bed group homes in Central Florida.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “We continue to work diligently to ensure the safe transition of residents from Carlton Palms while holding Bellwether Behavioral Health accountable. Today’s action is a major milestone in our efforts to shut down the facility that has proven it does not have the best interest of our clients in mind. I am very excited to see these residents transition into smaller group homes in their local communities. Keeping our APD customers safe and healthy is the top priority of the agency, and moving them into smaller homelike settings lends itself to a happier and healthier environment.”

APD has taken multiple actions to hold Bellwether Behavioral Health accountable, including an agreed moratorium on new residents, extensive video monitoring in all homes, an outside monitoring and transition team, along with other administrative sanctions and a prior $10,000 fine.

Residents will continue to be safely transitioned to other community settings over the next few months. Parents or guardians are being encouraged to make their selection of a new residential option for their loved one. The goal is to give parents or guardians choices in their local communities while ensuring that the new homes can meet the unique needs of these clients. APD is working with community providers to develop additional group homes for individuals with intensive behavioral needs. These specialized services will help APD customers live in their home communities near families or guardians.

To date, 58 people have transitioned into new community group homes. Guardian Healthcare has been contracted to provide daily health and safety oversight during this transition period.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities.  The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).