Baker Act

Aspire Health Partners is a designated receiving facility in both Seminole County and Orange County serving individuals who appear to need emergency mental health care and meet Baker Act criteria.

What is a Baker Act?

The Baker Act is a state law that allows for the involuntary placement of an individual in a psychiatric unit for purposes of psychiatric evaluation. The Baker Act is a legal order that can be utilized by Law Enforcement, Licensed Mental Health Providers, physicians and nurse practitioners. It is utilized when an individual is suicidal, homicidal or their psychiatric condition will worsen if they do not voluntarily seek treatment. The individual is taken to a psychiatric receiving facility. By law, they must be seen within 24 hours by a psychiatrist who may choose to keep the individual hospitalized or release them. An individual can be detained for up to 72 hours involuntarily. If the psychiatrist wants to keep the client longer, and they meet the Baker Act criteria and they do not want to stay, the psychiatrist will make the recommendation to a judge. The judge may order the individual released or maintain the hospitalization involuntarily for a period of time. Generally this does not exceed two weeks, but it may.

How are voluntary and involuntary Baker Act Admissions different?

A voluntary Baker Act is when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent or guardian of a person age 17 or under, makes application for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis or treatment when determined to be in need of emergency intervention.

An involuntary Baker Act is when a person is taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination when there is reason to believe that he or she is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness, the person has refused voluntary examination; the person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary and without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself and such refusal could pose a threat of harm to his or her well being; and there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself, herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

My loved one needs help but is unwilling/unable to seek treatment, what can I do?

If you are willing to swear in a Petition for Involuntary Examination that you have personally witnessed an individual causing harm to themselves or others, an “ExParte” for an Involuntary Examination can be completed at the Clerk’s Office, Mental Health Division.

What is the procedure for filing the Petition and Affidavit Seeking ExParte Order Requiring Involuntary Examination?

A family member or (3) interested persons may fill out the petition and affidavit in the Clerk’s Office. You will need to provide proper identification and have personally witnessed the individual’s actions.

What happens after I file the Petition and Affidavit?

Your sworn affidavit will be reviewed by the court. If the court believes, based on the evidence provided in the petition and affidavit, the judge will enter an order for the sheriff to pick up and transport the person to the nearest receiving facility. 

When will the order be served on the person?

The sheriff/law enforcement will make every attempt to take the person into custody and transport the person to a facility in order to receive the care they need.

How long will the order hold the person in a facility?

A person may not be detained for more than 72 hours.

A person will be under observation and a doctor’s care for up to 72 hours. 

Who can I call for more information?

In Seminole County: (407) 321-4357 ext.6569

In Orange County: (407) 875-3700