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  1. Long Reads

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

A Tampa Bay Times investigation.
[ Tara McCarty ]
Published Dec. 22, 2019

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.
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.
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.
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.
Ann Corzo and her son, Kristopher. [ . ]

You’re trapped. They’re cashing in.

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