In Florida alone there were 32,475 children sent for involuntary psychiatric examination during fiscal year 2015-2016.
This violation of human rights is happening to children as young as six years of age who are being Baker Acted without parental knowledge. A BuzzFeed investigative news report titled “HOW A 6-YEAR-OLD GOT LOCKED ON A PSYCH WARD”illustrates the abusive use of the Baker Act and the undermining of parental rights in Florida.
It is the opinion of CCHR that before an involuntary psychiatric examination is initiated on a minor that the person making this decision should first ensure that the child is not simply exhibiting “anti-social behavior” which is specifically excluded from the definition of mental illness in Florida. Children have tantrums and teenagers have dramatic moments – all of which can be misinterpreted as signs of mental illness when in fact they are normal childhood behaviors.
If the personnel authorized to initiate an involuntary examination, called a Baker Act, truly believe that the behavior of a child is a result of mental illness then in our opinion, and according to the criteria for initiation, the parent or legal guardian should be contacted for the purpose of obtaining consent for a voluntary examination. This opinion is based on the existing law which you can read about more on our website at “Involuntary Examination of Minors”.
This is NOT being done. Instead involuntary examinations are being initiated on children without parental knowledge. The parent finds out AFTER their child has been Baker Acted.
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