Each year, as many as 800 children in Miami-Dade County are Baker Acted at Community Health of South Florida, Inc.’s (CHI) adult crisis center alone. This staggering number does not include the hundreds of other children who are voluntarily brought in by their parents, concerned with their child’s mental state.
When a child or adult is Baker Acted, they are admitted to a health facility for psychiatric care because they are at risk for harming themselves or others. CHI often receives children in distress at our adult crisis center, which is not equipped to meet the treatment needs of mentally ill children.
When children are processed under the Baker Act, CHI’s doctors and specialists work feverishly to find them a bed at a local children’s crisis center, but oftentimes there are no available beds. On some occasions, children can wait up to two days in local emergency rooms due to a lack of available beds.
Distance is also an issue for children traveling from the southernmost parts of the state. Children with severe mental distress in Homestead and the Florida Keys travel long distances when seeking a children’s crisis center, some as much as 100 miles.
That’s why we’re building the first comprehensive Children’s Crisis Center in southern Miami-Dade County. This intensive in-patient 24-hour facility will be designed to treat children in need, regardless of whether or not they can afford care.