Mental health is a growing problem in Florida and the rest of the United States. With so many mass shootings and domestic assault incidents now blamed on mental health, parents with children struggling with psychiatric problems are doing the unthinkable. They are relinquishing their parental rights to ensure their children receive the mental health care they need.
According to ABC Action News, when the insurance company stops paying for the cost of mental health care, there is little some parents can do to keep up with costs. One father made the difficult decision to relinquish his parental rights after his son tried to not just kill the family dog twice, but also poison the father and his wife with toilet bowl cleaner. His son now has access to long-term mental health care funded by the government. However, the son is also facing criminal charges related to the incidents described.
While these cases are rare, roughly 12 children each year get passed on to Florida’s child welfare system to ensure they get help. While the state is better equipped to handle these cases than parents are, it nonetheless costs tax payers up to $1,000 per day for these services. In fact, authorities in Florida sometimes have to look out-of-state for help.
Since the publishing of the original story, ABC Action News submitted a follow-up revealing that parents all around the country confessed to relinquishing their children to get them the care they needed. Biological parents are not the only ones affected either. One adoptive mother disclosed that her daughter has been diagnosed with multiple mental health problems, has been Baker Acted at least ten times and tried to kill her thrice.
Parents considering this route should note that the Department of Children and Families does not allow parents to give up children just so they can access mental health services. Because of this, parents who do give up their children for this reason may face child abandonment charges. This is considered a civil rather than criminal charge.