At CES we are always on the lookout for people who have true positive impacts on the lives of those around them.
One such person who has achieved “Super Hero” status is a lovely lady named Diane Stein. Here is a person who with the help of a very small crew has made dramatic differences in the lives of families all through Florida. She is a champion for children and parent’s rights.
Imagine this—a testimonial from a parent:
“My child was placed in a police car and taken to a Center in Orlando. Before I could arrive to the school, my daughter was sent to the mental hospital. The facility finally agreed that her involuntary examination was not in compliance with the Baker Act and they released her to our care…terrible and frightening.”
So what is the Baker Act?
The Baker Act is the Florida mental health law that allows people of all ages, including children, to be held involunatirly for up to 72 hours in a psychiatric facility for an examination. A person may be taken to a receiving facility (psychiatric ward) for involuntary examination if there is reason to believe that the person has a mental illness and because of his or her mental illness:
(a)1. The person has refused voluntary examination after conscientious explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the examination; or
2. The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary; and
(b)1. Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services; or
2. There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior.
Children have tantrums and teenagers have dramatic moments. This behavior can be misinterpreted as signs of mental illness. These specifially are not criteria for Baker Acting a child. It is important for people to know their rights under this law and how they can protect themselves and their family.
The problem has been that the criteria for Baker Acting an individual are often misunderstood or even ignored. So a story like the testimonial above is more common than one might think.
CES hosts a recording studio where we produce the InfoHub Show. We were able to interview Diane Stein, the President of Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Florida Chapter.
Her advocacy for children and parental rights, her working with likeminded folks like Florida PTA, ParentalRights.org, and Florida Citizens Alliance went far to get legislation passed through the Florida House and Senate to protect the rights of anyone being Baker Acted, and to educate parents about their rights with a booklet called Parental Rights in Florida, A Guide for Parents.
This booklet can actually be downloaded here as a pdf: https://www.cchrflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/FINAL-Parental-Rights-Booklet-RD-06292020.pdf
We have listed the Parental Rights here for you as well. Check to see if your state is addressing this situation. If you need help you can always reach out to Diane and her crew at 800-782-2878.
Health Care & Mental Health
As a parent in Florida you have:
(a) The right to make health care and mental health care decisions for your minor child, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
(b) The right to make medical decisions to address any needs of your minor child. This is a matter between you, your minor child, and a competent health care professional chosen by you.
(c) The right to exempt your minor child from immunizations for religious reasons.
(d) The right to help your minor child in a time of crisis before the initiation of an involuntary psychiatric examination unless there is substantial likelihood that without care or treatment your minor child will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior.
(e) The right to be notified immediately if your minor child is removed from school, school transportation, or a school-sponsored activity and taken to a receiving facility for an involuntary examination.
(f) The right to refuse to give your minor child psychotropic/psychiatric drugs as a requirement for attendance or participation in public school services.
(g) The right to refuse psychological screening of your minor child.
(h) The right to opt your minor child out of any services offered under the school health services program by submitting a request in writing.
(e) The right to access and review all medical records of your minor child, unless prohibited by law or if you are the subject of an investigation of a crime committed against your minor child and a law enforcement agency or official requests that the information not be released.
As a parent in Florida you have:
(a) The right to direct the education and care of your minor child.
(b) The right to direct the upbringing and the moral or religious training of your minor child.
(c) The right to apply to enroll your minor child in a public school or, as an alternative to public education, a private school, including a religious school, a home education program, or other available options, as authorized by law.
(d) The right to access and review all school records relating to your child.
(e) The right to consent in writing before a biometric scan of your minor child is made, shared, or stored. This includes the right to opt out of any district-level data collection relating to your minor child not required by law.
(f) The right to learn about your child’s course of study, including the source of any supplemental education materials. This includes the right to inspect school district instructional materials.
(g) The right to object to instructional materials and other materials used in the classroom. Such objections may be based on beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion or the belief that such materials are harmful.
(h) The right to withdraw your minor child from any portion of the school district’s required comprehensive health education that relates to sex education or instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome education or any instruction regarding sexuality if the parent provides a written objection to his or her minor child’s participation.
(i) The right to be notified in advance of such course content, contained in (i) above, so that you may withdraw your minor child from those portions of the course.
(j) The right to learn about the nature and purpose of clubs and activities offered at your minor child’s school, including those that are extracurricular or part of the school curriculum.
Find out more about the work of Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Florida Chapter by visiting their website here: https://www.cchrflorida.org/
Watch our interview with Diane in full here: