Changes to Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code Increases Amount of Counseling Services that May be Provided to Minors without Parental Consent

By October 2, 2017 News No Comments

P.A. 100-0196, which was signed into law on August 18, 2017 and becomes effective on January 1, 2018, amends Section 3-501 of the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (IMHDDC) by increasing the amount of counseling services or psychotherapy that may be provided to a minor 12 years or older prior to receiving consent from the minor’s parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis. Previously, the IMHDDC permitted only five 45-minute sessions for outpatient counseling or psychotherapy services that could be provided to minors without parental consent. Under the amended law, minors may now be provided eight 90-minute sessions of services without parental consent.

In addition, the amended law now requires service providers to determine by the 8th session, in conjunction with the minor, whether attempting to obtain parental consent for counseling services would be detrimental to the minor’s well-being. Service providers must assume that obtaining parental consent would be detrimental to the minor when services are related to allegations of neglect, sexual abuse, or mental or physical abuse by the parent. The amended IMHDDC also enumerates various factors that must be present in order for the service provider to make the determination that obtaining consent of the parent would be detrimental to the minor’s well-being, such as (1) requiring parental consent would cause the minor to reject the services; (2) the failure to provide services would be detrimental to the child’s well-being; (3) the minor knowingly and voluntarily sought the services; and (4) in the opinion of the service provider, the minor is mature enough to participate in the services.

The amended IMHDDC further includes information regarding what steps the service providers must take after determining whether obtaining parental consent would be detrimental to the minor’s well-being. Specifically, the law contemplates various scenarios for when parental notification is required, the minor’s written consent is required, and services may be continued or discontinued.

Furthermore, the amended law provides that the parent will not be informed of the minor’s receipt of services without the minor’s consent unless the service provider believes the disclosure is necessary; however, prior to disclosure, the service provider must inform the minor of his/her decision to disclose this information to the parent. The minor may decide to discontinue services upon learning of the service provider’s intent to disclose this information, and the parent shall not be notified about the minor’s receipt of services.

The amended law also now permits the service provider to prohibit the minor’s parent from inspecting or copying any part of the minor’s record if there are compelling reasons for denying such access.

For questions regarding the provision of counseling services, please contact Jessica T. Nguyen.

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