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Mental Health Watchdog Launches Website to Educate Parents on Their Rights

by | Apr 23, 2020

The right as a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of your minor child is fundamental.

Earlier this month the Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an international mental health watchdog organization, launched a newly revised website designed to help parents understand some of the rights accorded to them under the law.

While parental rights have historically been viewed as fundamental, an erosion of these rights have prompted the passage of laws on a state and federal level to protect some of these rights. However, many parents do not fully understand their rights and are not aware of the laws that protect these rights.

In the wake of the failure to pass a hotly debated Parental Rights bill in Tallahassee this past session, CCHR Florida unveiled the new site with the aim to help families by clearly listing many of the rights that parents have in the areas of health care, mental health and education.

Known statewide for their work in helping parents whose children have been involuntarily taken to a psychiatric facility for examination under Florida’s controversial Baker Act, CCHR’s focus on parental rights is not new. Since launching a campaign in 2015 to raise awareness on the abuses being committed in the area of the Baker Acting of children, CCHR has been calling for a restoration of parental rights in Florida.

“The law clearly states that a person in crisis can be helped by a willing family member in place of a Baker Act but this is being ignored and when you are dealing with a child this is not just abuse it is a parental rights violation,” states the president of CCHR in Florida, Diane Stein.

In 2018 the Baker Act Center reported that more than 36,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations were initiated on children across the state and the Baker Act made international news earlier this year when the story of 6-year-old Nadia King who was taken into custody and transported to a psychiatric ward and allegedly drugged without the mother’s consent went viral. [1, 2]

Hundreds of parents have called CCHR looking for help when their child was Baker Acted and many parents reported that they felt powerless to protect their child until CCHR provided copies of the law and explained their rights. Knowing these rights empowered families to help their children and armed them with the knowledge they need to protect their children from this particular type of mental health abuse.

CCHR encourages parents who wish to know more about their rights, who feel they have been pressured to subject their child to unwanted psychiatric screening/treatment or whose child has been inappropriately Baker Acted to please call 800-782-2878 or visit https://www.cchrflorida.org/parental-rights/ and to report any abuse or violations of rights on their website at Report Psychiatric Abuse.

Sources:
[1] 6-year-old Florida girl “traumatized” after being involuntarily sent to mental health facility https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-baker-act-6-year-old-girl-sent-to-mental-health-facility-by-school/
[2] Baker Act Reporting Center https://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/ba_usf_annual_report_2017_2018.pdf

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