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Mental Health Watchdog Offering Continuing Education Course on the Baker Act

by | Oct 27, 2020

The fundamental right of a parent to help their child is being ignored despite the fact that there is an existing provision for the parent to be given an opportunity to help their child as part of the Baker Act law.

The virtual course for mental health professionals will help them identify the basic human rights impacted by the Baker Act and its unintended consequences.

The mental health law in Florida, known as the Baker Act, allows for individuals of all ages, including children, to be taken into custody and sent for an involuntary psychiatric examination. The most recent report shows that there were more than 200,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations in Florida and that over 36,000 of these initiations involved children. [1]

Alarmed at the large number of Baker Acts as well as increasing reports concerning violations of the law and rights, the Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), decided to become an approved continuing education provider for mental health professionals.

Already approved to host continuing education through the Florida Bar on the Baker Act for attorneys, the move to become a provider through the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling was a logical next step.

The next complimentary course is a virtual presentation scheduled for November 7th from 11:30am until 12:30pm and will be delivered by attorney Carmen Miller, a former assistant public defender in the Thirteenth Circuit in Tampa, with an extensive background in dealing with Baker Acts. Among the learning objectives for the course, those in attendance will learn the context and intentions of the Baker Act as well as the basic human rights impacted by the Baker Act and its unintended consequences.

“The Baker Act is widely misunderstood by those given the power to take a person, including a child, into custody for an involuntary psychiatric examination,” stated Diane Stein the president for CCHR in Florida. “In too many instances the person Baker Acted doesn’t meet the criteria yet their liberty is taken away.”

During a meeting of the Children’s Baker Act Task Force, it was revealed that a significant number of children sent for an involuntary psychiatric examination did not meet the criteria to be taken into custody. Unfortunately, this is not new information. CCHR has been reporting on this alarming trend for years and as part of a campaign to end abusive use of this law, CCHR engages in numerous public information activities designed for professionals as well as the general public. These activities include seminars and workshops delivered virtually and at the headquarters in downtown Clearwater, Florida. [2]

The upcoming virtual continuing education course is designed for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage Family Therapists and Certified Master Social Workers and offers 3 CE credits for completion of this course. To learn more or to reserve a spot for this complimentary virtual course, please call 727-442-8820.

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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109 N. Fort Harrison Ave.
Clearwater, Florida 33755
Tel: 1-800-782-2878
Tel: (727) 442-8820