The Agency for Persons with Disabilities said Thursday that it filed for “receivership” of Carlton Palms, a Mt. Dora facility for disabled children and adults.

The facility, run by Bellwether Behavioral Health, has been home to many violent and abusive incidents, committed both by residents and staff. APD had previously stopped the facility from taking in new residents and imposed required video monitoring requirements among other sanctions and fines.

Bellwether told APD it will cease all operations in Florida at the end of the month, and through the receivership process APD will be able to install a new management team to temporarily handle facility operations until residents can be placed in other facilities.

The agency said Thursday’s action was a “major milestone” in their ongoing effort to shutter the facility. Two years ago APD announced that the facility would be shut down in March 2019, but the process was fast-tracked after the death of 26-year-old resident William James Lamson two months ago.

“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,” said APD Director Barbara Palmer.

“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 said that, to date, 58 Carlton Palms residents have been moved into new community group homes. Guardian Healthcare has been contracted to provide daily health and safety oversight for remaining residents until they are placed in new homes.

The agency added that it is working with community providers to develop additional group homes for individuals with intensive behavioral needs, so they can reside in the same communities as their families or guardians.

2 Responses

  1. Lisa

    Where will they go. Some of the places being recommended are dirty and not able to care for this special population. If things are so bad there why has it been aloud to operate for so long. I feel like this is about the money and not the client.

  2. Ladonna

    APD needs to stand by their word. My son is in an awesome group home which have had no violations anywhere near the extent that Carlton Palms had however APD refuses to allow them to be reimbursed for their services. APD recommended my son to a different group home that they would fund and in the midst of me moving them there there was already a DCF investigation on going. Which means that investigation was going on when we were given the name of that group home. My son was there for 3 months and there were three different DCF incidences and there has never been one at the group home where he’s at in the 4 years he was there. He was moved back to his original group home and APD still refuses to fund them and will give no reason why only that they know the children are safe there but they won’t issue a billing provider number. So trying to get smaller group homes and smaller settings and needing to expand to gather more group homes if that’s APD goal I have offered them many opportunities to come see the group home where my son is and to see the success in the children that are there however my emails and calls are left unanswered. Do they truly care about these clients or are their discriminatory actions against smaller group home what plays the biggest role. Are those statements true or are they just smoke and mirrors to cover up things so that they can continue with their own agenda and continue to pick group homes and Facilities like Carlton Palms to fund


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