Parental Rights During Law Enforcement Proceedings

Why It Matters

Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. 

American Children’s Campaign believes parental rights in criminal justice are sometimes diminished. Parental rights have received a lot of attention recently  in educational settings. But we believe parental rights  are as important in criminal proceedings – if not more so –  because the stakes are often higher.

 Children are:

Real-Life Story

Tashawn Bernard, a 12-year old Black boy from Lansing Michigan, ended up in handcuffs and was put in a police car simply for taking out the trash at his home.  A police officer mistakenly believed he was connected to a series of auto thefts. Shocking news footage showed multiple officers and vehicles swarming their house, and Tashawn’s father’s protests seemingly being ignored by law enforcement.
The incident sparked significant public outrage as it went viral on social media platforms, causing the police department to issue apologies.

Where Florida Stands


Nearly 39,000 Florida children were Baker Acted in 2021. The majority (00%) were not a threat to themselves or others.


All Florida youth are currently allowed to waive their Miranda Rights without parental input or attorney consultation.

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A large majority of the guns used in child suicides, accidental shootings and mass shootings come from the family or friends homes.

Our Priorities

Allowing juveniles to waive their Miranda Rights without attorney consultation or parental input deprive youth the opportunity to comprehend the importance of what they say. 

Juveniles have trouble understanding their rights when arrested and are particularly vulnerable to coercion and manipulation. Statistics show that about 38% of juvenile confessions are false compared to approximately 13% of adult confessions. 

Due to Florida’s current gun storage laws, parents have no easy way of discerning whether guns are safely stored at the homes of their children’s friends. . Responsible firearm storage reduces the risk of self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries among children and teens by up to 85%. Gun safes are four times as effective as trigger locks at preventing accidental injury and twice as effective at preventing suicides. Storing a firearm unloaded reduces the risk of accidental injury by five times.

Of the 38,557 children in Florida who were Baker Acted in 2021 and transported in handcuffs to be involuntarily examined without their parents’ consent, the majority were found not to be a threat to themselves or others.