Our Mission

is to engage, restore, and empower individuals in our community to reach their fullest potential.

The vision of Peace River Center is to be a center of excellence for behavioral health and emotional wellness.

Core Values






Peace River Center strives to treat our members and the individuals we serve with integrity and compassion. We are accountable to our members and the clients we serve, treating them with the respect they deserve. Peace River Center is committed to being a center of excellence in our community.

FY23 Impact Sheet


Individuals Received Services in FY23

Peace River Center has over 34 programs in more than 24 locations and is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by ACHA and DCF.

Why Peace River Center

Our services are person-centered, trauma-informed, evidence-based, and culturally responsive. Our commitment to the well-being of our patients extends beyond the services we provide directly. We work in collaboration with other healthcare providers in each community to ensure patients’ total healthcare needs are met.

Ms. Rachel helping a client at Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (PSR)

Accreditation & Impact

Well Care Award with PRC Outpatient Therapy Group

Joint Commission Accreditation

In November 2021, Peace River Center earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. This was the result of demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care. PRC has been accredited by the Joint Commission since May of 1993.

Every three years, Peace River Center undergoes a rigorous onsite survey. During the review, compliance with behavioral health care standards related to several areas is evaluated. Those areas include care, treatment, and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm. Onsite observations and interviews are conducted. Staff from across the organization continuously work to develop and implement new strategies to improve care for those we serve.


We are also licensed by the State of Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Dual-Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Center

PRC is also a dual-certified center, providing survivors with sexual violence and domestic violence services. We are certified by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV). Our Victim Services programs undergo rigorous monitoring to ensure superior delivery of services, fiscal transparency, and adherence to domestic violence and sexual assault statutes.

Polk County Mental Health Center Historic Photo

Our History

Peace River Center (PRC) was founded in the late 1940s in response to the community’s concern for the emotional and psychological well-being of children. Over time, PRC gradually expanded its services to include adults. A significant growth period for the Center came after the 1973 passing of the Baker Act, which is Florida’s Mental Health Act, enabling them to establish a community mental health center as an alternative to treatment at the State Hospital. In the late 1970s, PRC opened the first of two domestic violence shelters, and in 2013 we added a primary care Wellness Clinic. Our Lakeland Crisis Campus opened in January 2018.

  • 1948


    Peace River Center Formed

    Local public concern over helping the children led to the formation of the Polk County Guidance Center (later to become Peace River Center).

  • 1971

    Baker Act Created

    The Florida Mental Health Act was named after Maxine Baker, former Miami State representative who sponsored the Act.



  • 1978


    Victim Services Established

    Late in the 1970s, with the help of local leaders, Peace River Center established the first domestic violence shelter and served three counties. Victim Services was expanded to include the Rape Recovery Program.

  • 1985

    Stepping Stones Group Home Established

    A group home for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness was created to help provide continuity of care and mental illness recovery.



  • 1987


    Forensics Program Created

    Peace River Center’s Forensic Program, which offers competency evaluations and other services to individuals experiencing a mental illness who are involved in the justice system, was launched.

  • 1987

    Success Group Home and PRC Apartments Opened

    PRC opened another group home, Success House, for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, as well as acquired apartments to serve PRC clients.



  • 1989


    Bartow Crisis Stabilization Unit Opened

    Peace River Center’s certified inpatient receiving facility was opened in Bartow. This secure unit provides individuals under Florida’s Baker Act (mental health commitment law) psychiatric crisis assessment and stabilization services including group counseling, medication management, recovery education, discharge planning, referrals, and family education.

  • 1990

    Home to Stay Program Established

    Home to Stay, previously known as Family Builders, was created to help reunify families involved in the child welfare system by providing them with life skills.



  • 1994


    Drop-In Center Opened

    The Drop-In Center, a precursor to Club Success and Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services, was opened. It provided individuals education about their mental illness and gave them the opportunity to gain social and life skills.

  • 1995

    Highlands County Domestic Violence Shelter Opened

    PRC Victim Services expanded its domestic violence services by opening a second safe house in Sebring.



  • 1995


    Short-Term Rehabilitation Treatment Facility Opened

    The Short-Term Adult Residential Treatment (SRT) facility is a secure 30-bed specialized residential unit. The SRT provides high-risk patients with a safe, therapeutic environment for an extended length of time to be assessed more thoroughly, receive more intensive treatment, and develop a more comprehensive discharge plan to enhance the likelihood of success in a community-based setting.

  • 2001

    Florida Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Began

    FACT is a comprehensive, community-based treatment, service delivery model provided to people who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder).



  • 2001


    Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) Launched

    The Mobile Crisis Response Team provides free, 24-hour crisis services for anyone experiencing emotional distress, mental health challenges, or the urge to use substances. Services can be provided via phone, mobile response to the caller’s location, or through walk-in at a Crisis Stabilization Unit.

  • 2005

    Club Success Opened

    Club Success is a place for persons living with mental illness to build self-confidence and self-esteem. It equips them to reintegrate into their community and become more independent and productive. It is part of an international program certified by Clubhouse International. The goal is to learn to live happy, healthy lives.



  • 2006


    Substance Use Program Created

    PRC began offering substance use treatment and recovery-focused services for individuals, families, and affected others.

  • 2008

    Mental Health Court Began


  • 2013


    Wellness Clinic Opened

    Located on our Gilmore Health Campus, the Wellness Clinic offers primary care services in an integrated healthcare setting. This means individuals can access services for their physical and mental health in one location. It is open to any insured and uninsured resident of Polk County.

  • 2013

    Children’s Action Team Launched

    CAT is a self-contained, multi-disciplinary clinical team that provides comprehensive, intensive community-based treatment to families with youth or young adults who are at risk of out-of-home placement due to mental health or co-occurring substance use disorder or other related complex issues.



  • 2013


    Family Intensive Treatment (FIT) Created

    The FIT program integrates substance use and mental health treatment for substance-using parents who are involved in the child welfare system. In-home interventions and Family Mentors are used to achieve parental engagement in services and improve safety and well-being for children.

  • 2018

    Lakeland Crisis Stabilization Unit Opened

    Peace River Center’s certified inpatient receiving facility in Lakeland opened, providing 20 additional beds (10 child/adolescent and 10 adult) in the secure facility. At the CSU individuals are assessed and may be admitted voluntarily or involuntarily until the mental health emergency is stabilized and continuing care referrals are made.



  • 2019


    Mobile Crisis Response Team Expanded to Highlands County

    The Mobile Crisis Response Team provides immediate on-site assessment for mental and behavioral health crises.