Who can initiate the Baker Act in Florida?

Chavah18 asked...

Who can initiate the Baker Act in Florida?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

As you seem to know, but other readers may not, the Baker Act is a Florida law that controls mental health services -- including voluntary admissions, involuntary examination, and involuntary placement.

The requirements for initiating the act are a little different, depending on the process being called into effect, but it appears you are inquiring about involuntary examination, which is the initial step for most, and the step most often questioned.

Involuntary examination may begin when:

  • a person signing an affidavit outlines why another person qualifies for such an examination; a judge then determines whether and when such an examination should begin
  • a law enforcement officer sees a person he or she believes should be examined and takes that person to a facility, or
  • a doctor or other health care provider determines a person should be examined, and a law enforcement officer then takes him or her to a facility for examination.

For an explanation of the complete letter of the law, see the information offered by the Florida Department of Children and Families.