What happens with a facility if they keep my loved one beyond the 72 hours?

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Hello, everyone. It’s Mark, and welcome back to our video newsletter.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the 72 hours hold, the Baker Act, and what happens to the facility if they keep your loved one beyond 72 hours.

As many of you know, once somebody has been baker-acted, they can be held for up to 72 hours if they’re an adult. In those 72 hours, if they continue to meet the criteria, the facility has that amount of time to assess them and potentially stabilize them. If it’s a minor, the facility can still hold up to 72 hours if the person meets the criteria. However, that assessment period is only 12 hours. The idea is with minors; we want things to take place reasonably quickly, especially if we’re dealing with somebody who’s only 10,11,12 years old and sometimes even younger.

One of the questions I was asked was, “Well, my loved one has been held for the past 72 hours. What’s going to happen to the facility? Who is going to hold them accountable?” And I said to them, “You can hold them accountable.” And they said, “Well, they’re violating my loved one’s rights.” And I said, “I know I agree with you. What do you want to do about it?” There was this sort of pause, and they said, “Well, it’s been over 72 hours.” and I said, “Says who?” I said, “Look, let me explain this to you. The issue with the facility in the Baker Act is that no one is watching them. You’re telling me it’s been 72 hours, and I have no reason to doubt you. I’m sure you’re correct. But who other than you is watching? Who knows when the 72 hours started, who knows when it stopped? If you think that the facility is going to fess up to the fact they’ve held your loved one beyond 72 hours, I’m here to tell you in a lot of instances, that’s not the case. I agree with you. If your loved one is held beyond 72 hours, either they should be released, or the facility needs to run to court, file a petition for involuntary placement, and seek permission to keep them beyond 72 hours. But as a general rule, if you don’t take action, and the facility is not going to let your loved one go, there’s nobody out there who’s going to punish the facility, who’s going to call the facility and tell them they need to release your loved one. There’s nobody who is watching these facilities. So if you want to get your loved one out, you have to take action. And if you don’t take action, they won’t let your loved one go voluntarily. They will go to court. They will get a court order, and there will be a hearing to which you will not be invited. And they will get permission from a judge to keep your loved one.”

With that said, take care of yourselves. Be well and stay safe.

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