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April 01, 2021

Florida’s Baker Act - Serious Need for Overhaul

A bipartisan group of legislators and reformers in Florida are attempting to fix the Baker Act, which allows individuals to be held for mental health evaluation and committed to a facility without their consent. State Senator Lauren Book has proposed a bill reforming the Baker Act, SB828, which proposes to establish a continuum of care so that individuals who are stabilized through treatment after being committed via the Baker Act receive a plan of care at the time of their discharge. The proposal also serves to reduce the rate at which people are repeatedly committed, contains provisions to allow the court to order inpatient or outpatient treatment, and reduces the number of children in Florida who are unnecessarily committed under the Baker Act. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Florida to be an outlier in using the  Baker Act with children, which has resulted in 37,000 involuntary psychiatric exams on children in fiscal year 2018-2019.