A Brief Guide to the State Law on Outpatient Mental Health Treatment for Minors

This law took effect on October 1, 1992 and allows certain licensed mental health professionals to provide counseling to minors (someone under the age of 18) without parental consent. The law was proposed by the Child Guidance Clinics in Connecticut and supported by NASW/CT.

THE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS WHO MAY PRACTICE UNDER THIS LAW: The statute permits licensed clinical social workers, licensed psychologists, licensed marital and family therapists, and licensed psychiatrists to treat minors without parental consent. Only licensed professionals as noted above are eligible. Professional’s working toward their license under professional supervision may not invoke this act.

THE REQUIRMENTS OF PROVIDERS BEFORE PRACTICING UNDER THIS LAW:

  • An evaluation of the need for treatment without parental/guardian consent or notification must be made prior to service and after every six (6) treatment sessions (see below description of evaluation).
  • The licensed provider may conduct up to a minimum of six (6) outpatient mental health treatment sessions to a minor (someone under the age of eighteen (18) without a parent’s or guardian’s consent or notification.
  • After six sessions the licensed provider must re-evaluate if service without parental/guardian consent or notification is still required.

REQUIRED ASSESSMENT PRIOR TO INITIATING TREATMENT OR CONTINUING TREATMENT: The following assessment must be made prior to treatment and after every six sessions. There are five criteria that must all be met in the affirmative in order to initiate or continue treatment without parental/guardian consent or notification. The provider must document at each assessment that the criteria has been met prior to initiating or continuing treatment.

  1. Requiring parental/guardian consent or notification would cause the minor to reject the treatment.
  2. Providing the treatment is clinically indicated.
  3. Failure to provide treatment would be seriously detrimental to the minor’s well being.
  4. The minor has knowingly and voluntarily sought treatment.
  5. In the provider’s opinion the minor is mature enough to productively participate in treatment.

OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE LAW:

  • If a provider is treating a minor under this statute the provider is prohibited from notifying the parent(s)/guardian of the treatment or from disclosing information about the treatment without the minor’s consent. It is advised that such consent be in writing.
  • Any parent/guardian who is not informed of treatment provided under the conditions of this statute will not be liable for the costs of the treatment.

This statute is Public Act 92-129. The intent of the statute is to assure that minor’s who are in need of mental health treatment have access to that treatment. Providers of such treatment should encourage open communication between the minor and their parent(s)/guardian but in recognition that such communication may not always be in the best interest of the minor allows treatment to take place without parental/guardian consent or notification in specific circumstances as outlined in the law.