January 20, 2015 – Children’s Issues

The disAbility law Center of Virginia is monitoring issues of interest to the disability community in the Virginia legislature during the session that began last week.   We are available to educate policy makers about the potential impact of legislative proposals.  Please let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following.  Contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.

We expect several bills to address the needs of children and adolescents with disabilities. Here are a few:

Children’s Issues

Seclusion and Restraint in Public Schools

SB 782 (Favola) was heard in the Senate subcommittee on public education Monday morning.  The subcommittee unanimously recommended that the bill be “reported.”  The full committee will vote on that recommendation on Wednesday.  The bill requires the Department of Education to develop regulations governing the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools.

HB 1443 (Richard Bell) is the companion bill in the House.  It will be before subcommittee on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Children’s Mental Health

HB 1581 (Watts) will require public schools to include in their family life curricula a discussion about mental health and the availability of advanced directives for mental health care.  It will be heard by the House Education subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education on Wednesday, January 21.

SB 773 (McWaters) requires parental notification when a hospitalized minor objects to further treatment.  The bill also requires that the Office of Attorney General prepare a written explanation to parents about how to seek continued treatment over objection. The bill was approved by the Senate Courts of Justice committee and has been read twice in the Senate.

SB 779 (McWaters) lowers the standards for involuntary commitment of a minor over the age of 14 and extends the period of time an objecting minor can be held from 4 days to 5 days.  The bill will be heard in Senate Courts of Justice.

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The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is, through zealous and effective advocacy and legal representation, to protect and advance the legal, human and civil rights of people with disabilities, to combat and prevent abuse, neglect and discrimination, and to promote independence, choice and self-determination by persons with disabilities.