February 6, 2014 Legislative Highlights

Children’s mental health bills

There were two legislative proposals that would have eliminated the right of a minor, over age 14, to consent or object to mental health treatment.  Under current law, if a minor over age 14 is determined to be in need of mental health treatment and that minor objects, the treating facility can hold the child for 96 hours and can, thereafter, obtain a judicial order for continuing treatment.  The two legislative proposals sought to deal with an lack of access to service for minors, which the two patrons believe is linked to the requirement that an older minor must either consent or the facility must obtain an order.  Many advocates believe that the lack of services is a much more complicated problem.

HB 1097 (Lemunyon) was “laid on the table” at the request of the patron; with a request that the issue be considered by the Joint Commission on Health Care.

SB 184 (McWaters) was passed by indefinitely by the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice, with a letter to the Joint Commission requesting that they consider the issue. Senator Puller, who chairs the Joint Commission on Health Care, sits on Senate Courts of Justice and assured the committee that the Joint Commission would consider it.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia promotes and protects the rights of all Virginians with disabilities.  The dLCV is a private nonprofit organization.  We may educate policymakers about the impact of proposed legislation.  Contact us at info@dlcv.org or at 1-800-552-3962 if there is a policy matter of concern to you that you feel we should be addressing.