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CCHR Florida Petition Demands Protection of Children from Involuntary Examination

/EIN News/ -- CLEARWATER, Fla., Aug. 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Upon redoubling their efforts to protect children from unnecessary involuntary psychiatric examination, the Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group co-established by the Church of Scientology in 1969, has launched a petition asking lawmakers to restore parental rights during the Baker Acting of a minor. 

The mental health law for Florida is commonly referred to as the Baker Act and it covers all aspects of mental health including the initiation of involuntary psychiatric examination. While the original intent of this Act was to ensure patient rights and prevent abuse, the Annual Report of Baker Act Data, revealed in March of this year that in the 15 years from 2001 to 2016, involuntary examinations more than doubled, a 105.50% increase and that 32,475 of these initiations were on children.i

In response to this alarming increase the Florida chapter of CCHR, a non-profit watchdog working to expose human rights violations in the field of mental health, launched a petition demanding that parents be contacted before an involuntary psychiatric examination is initiated on a child. 

“It is our opinion that per existing law, a parent should be given the option to consent to voluntary examination before something as traumatic as a Baker Act is initiated on a child,” stated Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “This is not being done and we believe this is a violation of the rights of the parent and the child.”

According to Florida Statutes, one of the criteria that must be met is that the person has refused voluntary examination after conscientious explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the examination, yet this important step is omitted during the Baker Acting of a child. With a recent analysis of the calls received by CCHR from parents of children in Florida who had been sent for involuntary examination revealing that 70 percent of these children did not meet the criteria for an involuntary examination, it appears there is a gross miscarriage of justice occurring.

Encouraged by recent changes to the mental health law that now requires the examination of a minor to be initiated within 12 hours instead of 72 hours after arriving at a psychiatric facility, CCHR is continuing their campaign to educate parents on their rights while providing them with a form they can fill out and file with their children’s school to potentially help protect their child from an unjust involuntary psychiatric examination. 

The form uses existing state law to help protect parental rights and can be downloaded on the CCHR Florida website at http://www.cchrflorida.org/florida-non-consent-forms/. Additionally, any person living in Florida who is interested in protecting children from abusive Baker Acting are encouraged to sign a petition to stop the involuntary examination of children without parental knowledge at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-children-from-baker-act. For more information on this campaign please contact CCHR at 727-442-8820 or visit the center at 109 N. Fort Harrison Ave in Clearwater, Florida.

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. It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “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.’” For more information please call 800-782-2878

i The Baker Act The Florida Mental Health Act Fiscal Year 2015/2016 Annual Report, Released March 2017 – Prepared for the Florida Department of Children and Families by the Baker Act Reporting Center
http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

Media Contact:
Diane Stein
President, CCHR Florida
727-442-8820
diane@cchrflorida.org
www.cchrflorida.org

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