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For Immediate Release:                                          Contact:
April 17, 2018                                                           Melanie Mowry Etters
                                                                                  Communication Director


APD Seeks Revocation and Closure of Carlton Palms

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is seeking to revoke the license of Carlton Palms, which is operated by Bellwether Behavioral Health, and impose a $10,000 fine, the maximum allowed by Florida law. APD filed an Administrative Complaint against Carlton Palms of Mt. Dora today. Numerous recent verified findings of abuse and neglect by the Florida Department of Children and Families warrant this action by APD.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “Protecting the health and safety of APD customers is the top priority of the agency. APD demands excellence in service to Floridians with developmental disabilities. We are actively working to close Carlton Palms as soon as possible, and we have taken multiple actions in the past 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 $10,000 in fines. We will not tolerate any type of abuse or neglect at any of our APD licensed facilities.”

With this action APD seeks closure of Carlton Palms as soon as residents can be safely transitioned to other community settings. APD is expediting the transition of the remaining customers living at Carlton Palms into community group homes. The agency is increasing its outreach to parents or guardians to encourage their selection of new residential options. The goal is to give parents or guardians choices for their loved ones 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.

Previously in 2016, APD reached an agreement to close Carlton Palms by March 2019 and transition residents into smaller, homelike settings that follows new requirements by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). To date, 52 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).