Published On: Sat, Aug 3rd, 2019

Florida Sees Significant Increase in Baker Acted Children

With recent school shootings weighing heavy on Florida students, it’s no surprise that there is an increased number of children struggling in mental crisis.

The University of South Florida Baker Act Reporting center states, Florida underwent the deadliest school shooting in history. As a result, new data shows that more than 36,000 children under the age of 18 were sent for involuntary psychiatric evaluations under the state’s Baker Act law. This is a 10 percent increase from the previous years. 13,000 of the kids Baker Acted were under the age of 13, with a 17 percent increase compared to previous years.

According to WPTV, the Baker Act is a Florida law allowing designated professionals such as; law enforcement, judges, doctors or a mental health professional, to carry out an involuntary mental health examination on a person or child who exemplifies a mental illness due to their displays of behavior that could pose a threat to themselves or others.

Many state officials acknowledge that this number is alarmingly high and something needs to be done to alleviate the issues these young children are facing.

Florida Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Republican Senator who represent parts of the Treasure Coast states, “Moving forward, I would anticipate that there may be further legislation around this topic, but it has to be carefully constructed so the child’s best interest is always first.”

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