The Adult Services Division of the Human Services Division handles a variety of matters including civil commitment, adult protection, economic assistance and assorted social services appeal matters. The majority of the caseload, however, is in the civil commitment area where we handle over 1,300 cases per year of persons with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities. Our staff faces the daily challenges of securing treatment for people in the midst of shrinking resources, and balancing treatment needs with civil liberties and public safety interests.
The Division also handles sex offender commitments and Rule 20 petitions from the criminal court where a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial for a criminal charge. Increased awareness of the needs of mentally ill defendants has resulted in specialized criminal courts. The number of Rule 20 petitions has increased dramatically in the last few years. Many of the Rule 20 petitions present unique challenges in the need for continued coordination between the criminal and commitment courts. The number of sex offender commitment referrals continue to grow, as well.
The Adult Services Division assists the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department by providing legal advice and representation in actions involving the developmentally disabled, services to seniors and legal matters affecting vulnerable adults, including Probate Court guardianships and conservatorship cases.