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Advocates Worry After Effort To Minimize Baker Acts On Kids Gets Watered Down

Photo: M
Photo: M

During the 2018-2019 school year, more than 37,000 children were Baker Acted. The number has increased each year since the state started keeping records.

A proposal to address the use of involuntary psychiatric exams on children was recently watered down leaving advocates like the Florida Council of Churches' Russell Wilson disappointed:
"What they really need is not handcuffs in the back of a cruiser. What they really need is a loving adult who can help them through a moment of crisis." The measure by Rep. Rene Plasencia leaves in place a requirement that schools notify parents before a Baker Act occurs. However, language around trying to de-escalate situations and relying more on mental health providers was stripped from the bill. The language remains in a Senate companion bill, and advocates are hoping the language will eventually be added back later on.