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CLEARWATER, Fla., Feb. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Florida chapter of the international mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), is concerned over the large number of individuals being sent annually for involuntary psychiatric examinations, called a Baker Act, in light of the fact that it is known a percentage of these Baker Acts are illegal due to a failure to meet the criteria to take a person into custody.
The Baker Act allows for a person of any age to be taken into custody and transported to a psychiatric receiving facility for examination and the most recent statistics released by the Baker Act Reporting Center, show that there were over 199,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations initiated in Florida during 2017 including over 32,000 children. 
In order to take a person into custody under a Baker Act there are three criteria that must be legally met yet it is common knowledge that this is not always done and it was disclosed during a meeting of the Baker Act Task Force in 2017 that 30 percent of the Baker Acts initiated on children in Pinellas County did not meet the criteria. This alarming fact is one reason CCHR believes the Baker Act needs to be reformed so that parents and guardians are brought into the process before a child is put through the trauma of a Baker Act in an effort to reduce illegal Baker Acting of minors. 
“The Baker Act is being abused and is being used incorrectly on people of all ages,” stated Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida. “CCHR receives too many calls on a weekly basis from families whose loved one was illegally taken into custody and this abuse must end.”
In the example of minors, parents and legal guardians are being left out of the process only finding out that their child has been Baker Acted after initiation and usually after the child has been transported by law enforcement to a psychiatric facility. CCHR believes that this is a rights violation, a belief that is shared by Sheriffs, Police Chiefs and even School Districts across Florida.
Since 2017, CCHR has been working to educate those granted the power to initiate a Baker Act on a child on why a parent or guardian should be brought into the process before initiation resulting in county and city level policy changes to contact the parents of a child before initiating a Baker Act.
Those interested in learning more about CCHR’s campaign to protect children from abusive Baker Acting are encouraged to call 800-782-2878.
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. For more information visit www.cchrflorida.org
 Baker Act Reporting Center http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/publications/The%20Baker%20Act%20-%20FL%20MH%20Act%20-%20FY%2016-17%20Annual%20Report%20-%20Released%20June%202018.pdf
 CHILDREN’S BAKER ACT TASK FORCE, MINUTES for FIRST MEETING 7.20.17 http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/mentalhealth/task-force-examination-minors/docs/20170720/20170720-minutes.pdf
Citizens Commission on Human Rights https://www.cchrflorida.org/
Baker Act https://www.cchrflorida.org/
involuntary psychiatric examinations https://www.cchrflorida.org/
In order to take a person into custody under a Baker Act there are three criteria that must be legally met yet it is common knowledge that this is not always done and this is a rights violation.
Diane Stein, President CCHR Florida
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CCHR Florida: Who Speaks for the Child?
CCHR Warns: Baker Act Initiations Do Not Always Meet Legal Standards
In order to take a person into custody under a Baker Act there are three criteria that must be legally met yet it is common knowledge that this is not always done. During a meeting of the Baker Act Task Force in 2017 it was revealed that 30% of the minor Baker Acts in Pinellas County did not meet the criteria.