Client Rights: Admitting Minors to Outpatient Treatment
There are rules for children to receive outpatient developmental disability, mental health, or substance use treatment. We provide guidance below on these rules. This is not legal advice.
Can a child receive outpatient treatment without a parent’s or legal guardian’s consent?
- A child can receive outpatient alcohol treatment if it is for prevention, intervention, or follow-up.
- A child can receive outpatient mental health treatment for 30 days without consent if: o It’s an emergency.
- A reasonable effort was made to get consent from the parent or guardian. During the 30 days:
- No inpatient treatment or medicines may be given.
- The director must get informed, written consent or file a petition to review the child’s admission with the court.
- The child, or someone acting on their behalf, may petition the mental health review officer to review a parent’s or guardian’s refusal or inability to consent.
If the child refuses alcohol or other drug abuse outpatient treatment, their consent for testing, assessment, or treatment isn’t needed. Their parent or guardian may agree to have them tested for alcohol or other drugs. Their parent or guardian may also agree to have the child assessed for substance use.
What is a review by a mental health review officer, and when should it occur?
A mental health review is an analysis of the consent provided for admission to outpatient treatment.
What is judicial review?
- Within 21 days, the child, or someone acting on their behalf, may file a petition for a court to review the parent’s or guardian’s refusal to consent.
- The petition must contain the same things required for the review by the mental health review officer. If the child refused consent, it must be noted on the petition’s front page. The child may be entitled to a lawyer.
- The court should hold a hearing on the petition for judicial review within 21 days of its filing.
- The child, their parent or guardian, lawyer, and anyone interested, must be informed of the hearing by mail at least four days before it occurs.
- Evidence must be clear, fair, and convincing.
- After the hearing, the court may say parent or guardian consent isn’t needed. In addition, it may say the child’s treatment is appropriate as long as the parent or guardian gave consent.
- A finding by judicial review doesn’t mean a mental illness is present.
A judicial review decision can be appealed to the court of appeals.