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.

[1] Baker Act Reporting Center

1 Comment

  1. Russ D

    I’m a 50 year old guy in chronic pain and stuck in our Healthcare system and our war on drugs. I have zero criminal record or drug abuse history at all. I had a intense heated message argument with Blue Cross as to not paying for a particular drug I needed that they have paid for in the past but make me constantly renew it.. Long story short I have severe pain, I am no harm to myself or others , but I do state the suffering with this pain is way worse than dying, which come on, that’s a proven fact! And If you have a rare issue dr’s just bounce you around as they cannot diagnose your pain and don’t want to deal with narcotics.. So BCBS of FL calls the police saying I sound suicidal.. I am not as actually im just too much a wuss to do it and I have kids and would never do that to them, But shoot anyone with Chronic pain states suicidal ideation! The cops actually go to my moms house 1st, wakes her up at 11:30pm at night, and she says, ” oh he is fine, he gets like that when he is in lots of pain” So then she gives them my address, I was in my underwear in bed and another set of police come there and get me out of bed.. I was totally calm with them and said hey we got in a fight (me and insurance company) they play these games, if you dont scare them they dont approve you. We talked for a good 10 minutes with door cracked and me in underwear.. And ts like one of them got something in his ear and was like “well we have to baker act you” “can you put some pants on”, I said sure … I didnt know what to do… They sent me to this place that had wooden beds with a sheet on them. I had no medication, no food, this is middle of the night. Once the director saw I had good insurance, I saw her eyes glow , I then it hit me ” i am so screwed” …. Didnt sleep all night, didnt eat… I had contact (eye) issues, they would not give me any solution, i had to rinse them out in sink water.. Saw a phyciatrist about 2pm next day, he agreed i did not belong there, said maybe try cymbalta, but I said i already had, he said maybe a huge dose? i said i would talk to my dr about it.. So i said can i go? he said, yes we just need to call your mom and make sure she feels you are safe to yourself and she is not fearful of you… Now mind you that I take care of my 80 year old mother, thats why i use her address for many of my bills as I stay there often, hence why the BCBS gave the cops that address… so she needs me for her care.. Meanwhile this evil facility gives me a cup of meds and says here take these. I refused, I am leaving… She goes, Oh no hunny, you need to take these meds and we have to monitor you a couple days for reactions and such… I said but the dr said different? Again i’m saying “im screwed” meanwhile they submit a pre-auth to my insurance for a 3 day stay… By the grace of God I caught the dr on his way out in the hal and said “hey, they wont release me” he states “well, i said, they have to call your mom and stuff” , I said “NO, they still wont release e, they want to milk my insurance!” He goes in and talks to the director… She comes to me with her head smoking with a bunch of papers to sign.. And she looks me in th eye and states verbatim ” If you EVER are in here again you WILL never get out” …. I seriously have PTSD from this experience.. I mean the conditions where worse then a jail cell…. they had many empty beds and needed money….
    Should I just suck it up and move on, or should I do something? Im scared to death this can even happen and I had ZERO rights….I had no idea it was legal… Me and the cop talked the whole way there with the divider down and we talked sports and all calm and all… I have no proof, But I wouldnt be surprised If a $100 bill went in his hand for dropping me of at that one place….as a spiff…. again just my opinion…. I mean i dont even take antidepressants! I take valium for muscle spasm pain.. but thats all the mental stuff i take… To this day they have not charged me nor my insurance anything and its been one month.. but i do see all the auth that came through which where approved.. but no charges, not even the dr i saw… Im just ashamed this level of fraud happens… I mean if i took whatever meds those where and got “whacked” out and they kept me a month, they could have made $30k off me! and then whom would take care of my mom?


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Contact CCHR Florida

109 N. Fort Harrison Ave.
Clearwater, Florida 33755
Tel: 1-800-782-2878