CCHR: Continuing Education Course Educates Professionals on Changes to Baker Act

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Designed for individuals authorized to initiate an involuntary hold, the virtual course is delivered by an attorney and covers basic rights impacted by the mental health law.

Commonly known as the Baker Act, Florida’s mental health law, allows for individuals of all ages to be taken into custody for an involuntary psychiatric examination. However, this law is often misunderstood and misused. With changes made during the 2021 legislative session on the procedure for Baker Acting a child, it is more important than ever to ensure this procedure is understood.

According to a new study by researchers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, only 25 states in the country track involuntary holds with enough data to be analyzed and of those 25, “annual detentions varied from a low of 29 per 100,000 people in Connecticut in 2015 to a high of 966 in Florida in 2018.” Florida initiated more than 210,000 Baker Acts during 2018/2019 across the state with over 37,000 involving children. [1,2]

While Florida recently made changes to the involuntary examination process for children, now requiring reasonable attempts to notify parents, headlines such as “6-year-old Florida girl “traumatized” after being involuntarily sent to mental health facility” and “Florida’s flawed Baker Act rips thousands of kids from school” have been all too frequent spurring the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to begin offering continuing education on the law. After first receiving approval 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. [3,4,5]

The next complimentary virtual course is being hosted by CCHR on Saturday, August 14th, 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. Those in attendance will learn the context and intentions of the mental health law, basic human rights impacted by the Baker Act, changes to the Baker Act process for children and the unintended consequences of involuntary psychiatric examinations. To learn more or to reserve a spot, please call 727-442-8820 or send an email to execdir@cchrflorida.org.

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, first brought psychiatric imprisonment to wide public notice: “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health,’” he wrote in March 1969.

Sources:

[1] Study Finds Involuntary Psychiatric Detentions on the Rise luskin.ucla.edu/study-finds-involuntary-psychiatric-detentions-on-the-rise

[2] Baker Act Reporting Center usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/ba_usf_annual_report_2018_2019.pdf

[3] Ibid.

[4] WUSF Health News Florida COMMITTED wfsu.org/committed/ and Baker Act Abuse – Media Stories cchrflorida.org/baker-act-abuse/

[5] Florida Senate Bill 590: School Safety laws.flrules.org/2021/176

Contact Info:
Name: Diane Stein
Email: Send Email
Organization: Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
Address: 109 North Fort Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida 33755, United States
Phone: +1-727-442-8820
Website: http://www.cchrflorida.org/

Source: PressCable

Release ID: 89040084