Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Long Reads

Reporters have been exploring the unintended consequences of the state’s mental health law

A Tampa Bay Times investigation.
 [Tara McCarty]
[Tara McCarty]

Read the series installments below:

Florida’s flawed Baker Act rips thousands of kids from school.

Connor Lovejoy, pictured with his grandmother, Cathy Lovejoy, and Loki, a trained service dog. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

The Baker Act set out to improve care. Now it’s ensnaring more children.

Florida's Baker Act was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a 65-year-old grandmother and freshman legislator from Dade County. She's seen here in a 1965 photo. [Associated Press]

An autistic child melts down. An officer makes a decision. A family suffers the consequences.

Staci and Terry Plonsky, holding art from their autistic son, depicting the day A.J. taken by the school resource officer to a mental health facility. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

“My hands were tied. I couldn’t do anything about it.”

Ann Corzo and her son, Kristopher. [.]

You’re trapped. They’re cashing in.

Michael Jenkins with his wife, Jamie Jenkins, and their three children. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]