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Mental Health Watchdog Reaches More Than 180,000 Through Parental Rights Campaign

by | Jun 11, 2020

During 2018, more than 36,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations were initiated on children in Florida.

As part of a campaign to educate parents on their rights, the Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a watchdog organization that exposes abuse in the mental health industry, launched a newly revised website earlier this year as part of a campaign designed to help parents understand basic rights accorded to them by law.

CCHR’s focus on parental rights is not new. Known statewide for their work in helping parents whose children have been taken to a psychiatric facility for involuntarily examination under the mental health law, a Baker Act, CCHR has been calling for a restoration of parental rights in Florida, since 2015. Helping hundreds of families secure the safe release of their children, CCHR believes the law is being abused.

“The law clearly states that a person in crisis can be helped by a willing family member but this is being ignored and children are being taken into custody without parental knowledge,” said Diane Stein, president of CCHR Florida. “When you are dealing with a child this is not just abuse it is also a parental rights violation.”

According to the Baker Act Center, more than 36,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations were initiated on children across the state in 2018. The Baker Act also made international news in 2020 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]

Raising overall awareness on parental rights was a logical next step for CCHR Florida, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection of children. While parental rights have historically been viewed as fundamental, many parents do not fully understand their rights and so are not prepared to protect their children from rights abuse.

The aim of this new campaign is to help families and to protect parental rights by clearly listing many of the rights that parents have in the areas of health care, mental health and education.

CCHR encourages anyone who wishes to know more about parental rights or who feel they have been pressured to subject a child in their care to unwanted psychiatric screening/treatment to please call 800-782-2878 or visit https://www.cchrflorida.org/parental-rights/.

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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