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Peace4theBigBend, Tallahassee Region (FL)

Peace4theBigBend creates a resilient and thriving community in an eight-county region by providing education, resources, support and advocacy for people, organizations and communities that struggle with trauma and loss.

Committed: How a 6-Year-Old Revealed Florida's Dysfunctional System of Baker Acting Kids [centerforhealthjournalism.org]

 

By JacqueLynn Hatter, Center for Health Journalism, December 13, 2020

The number of children who are taken for involuntary psychiatric evaluations in Florida increases every year. This is the first story in a five-part series about how the state's Baker Act affects children.

Each day in Florida, about 100 kids are involuntarily committed for psychiatric exams under the state's Baker Act. The law was not designed for children, yet over the past few years, the number of minors taken for mental health evaluations has increased. The issue is drawing more scrutiny from child advocates and lawmakers. But solutions to the problem aren’t easy. The reasons why children are committed are often complex. What happens when the state decides to commit a child? Who is most at-risk and why are they being Baker Acted, and is there long-term fallout? This series explores what happens when kids get committed.

Nadia's Story

The body camera video is a bit shakyβ€”but clear. School officials stand outside in a breezeway talking to two police officers. Between them stands a little girl wearing a pink shirt with a rainbow on it. Her light-brown curly hair is piled in a high ponytail on her head. The police ask the school officials if they need to sign anything. They don't. So, one of the Jacksonville police officers turns to the little girl, Nadia.

[Please click here to read more.]

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