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Almost 410,000 Reached in a Campaign to Protect Children and Parental Rights

by | Sep 24, 2020

The most recent report on the Baker Act revealed that there were more than 36,000 initiations on children in a single year, with over 4,000 of these children under the age of 10.

Viewed as a statewide problem, the number of children sent for involuntary psychiatric examinations, called a Baker Act, has been steadily climbing for almost two decades and with many parents only finding out their child has been taken into custody after the fact, it is possibly one of the greatest risks to parental rights in the state.

With the most recent report on the Baker Act revealing that there were more than 36,000 initiations on children in a single year, with over 4,000 of these children under the age of 10, leading expert on mental health human rights, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) views the failure to recognize the rights of a parent when a child is Baker Acted as a gross violation. [1]

As a result, CCHR Florida expanded their campaign to amend the Baker Act to require parental notification before the initiation of a Baker Act to include parental rights in general with a focus on invasive mental health programs and screenings.

“It is a fact that a significant percentage of children being Baker Acted do not meet the criteria for initiation,” stated Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida. “And now that school is back in session, we are also receiving reports of the covert mental health screening of children without parental consent. This is why the Baker Act should be amended and a Parents’ Bill of Rights passed.” [2]

In response to these concerns, CCHR Florida has made a free eBook available to anyone wanting to know more about parental rights and have used social media to reach almost 410,000 people since the campaign was launched. CCHR is also mailing copies of these booklets to school districts, Parent Student Teacher Associations, law enforcement and other groups across the state resulting in requests for hundreds of more booklets for use with School Resource Officers.

“People should not have to struggle to find out what rights they have when confronted by a situation involving their child. This is why we have produced this booklet and are making it available free of charge to anyone who needs help,” said Diane Stein

Additionally, CCHR has been working together with law enforcement and with school districts on the adoption of internal policies to require parental notification and involvement in situations that would normally result in a Baker Act initiation. So far over 100 police departments, Sheriff’s Offices and School Districts have adopted policies that will better protect children and the rights of parents.

CCHR encourages parents who wish to know more about their rights to visit their website where they can download a free copy of the eBooklet.

Sources:
[1] Baker Act Reporting Center https://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/ba_usf_annual_report_2017_2018.pdf
[2] CHILDREN’S BAKER ACT TASK FORCE MINUTES for FIRST MEETING 7.20.17 https://myflfamilies.com/service-programs/samh/involuntary-examination-minors/docs/20170720/20170720-minutes.pdf

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