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Will you help me to Baker Act my minor child?

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Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back. In this video, I want to talk to you about whether or not you should Baker Act your minor child.

Just about a week ago, I had a call from a frantic mother. Her eight-year-old son apparently was having some breakdown. The child was having a tantrum, and the mother could not control the situation. She called me and said, “I want you to Baker Act my child.” My response to her was, “No, I am not going to baker act your child. If you call me and ask me to Baker Act anyone, my answer is almost certainly going to be no.”

As an uncle to five nieces and a grandniece, I understand that sometimes children have issues. But unless it’s an emergency, you should not be calling 911 to have your child, or frankly, anybody else baker-acted. The Baker Act, which I have said on many occasions, is a very useful tool, but it’s only for emergencies. It is an emergency stabilization statute, and it’s not a treatment statute.

I understand that children can sometimes get out of control. However, calling a lawyer and asking them to get a court order to authorize law enforcement to come down and handcuff your child and take your child away is not something that I’m going to condone or support.

I get calls from lots of parents whose children are being baker-acted inappropriately, and handcuffed in the back of police cars. They are taken into facilities, and then their child falls into the black hole, which is the state mental health system. They hire me to get their child out.

Look, if you’ve got a situation, call us. I’ve got lots of free resources I’m happy to share with you. I’ve got access to clinicians, interventionists, and social workers, and I will gladly share the name, and phone number of anybody that I think can help you. But if you call me asking me to baker act your loved one, especially a minor child, my answer is no. I will not be a party to that. If it’s an emergency, call 911. If the police won’t do anything, it’s almost certainly because your child doesn’t meet the criteria to be cuffed and taken away in a police car.

With that said, I appreciate the call from this parent.

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