BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS


          Bill No:  SB 543
          Author:   Leno (D)
          Amended:  8/20/10
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  3-0, 5/5/09
          AYES: Corbett, Florez, Leno
          NO VOTE RECORDED: Harman, Walters

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  7-3, 5/28/09
          AYES:  Kehoe, Corbett, DeSaulnier, Hancock, Leno, Oropeza,  
            Yee
          NOES:  Cox, Denham, Walters
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Runner, Wolk, Wyland

           SENATE FLOOR  :  22-12, 6/3/09
          AYES:  Alquist, Calderon, Cedillo, Corbett, Correa, Florez,  
            Hancock, Kehoe, Leno, Liu, Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod,  
            Oropeza, Padilla, Pavley, Romero, Simitian, Steinberg,  
            Wiggins, Wolk, Wright, Yee
          NOES:  Aanestad, Ashburn, Cogdill, Cox, Denham, Dutton,  
            Hollingsworth, Huff, Maldonado, Strickland, Walters,  
            Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Benoit, DeSaulnier, Ducheny, Harman,  
            Runner, Vacancy

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  Not available  
           

           SUBJECT  :    Minors:  consent to mental health services

           SOURCE  :     Equality California
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                      GSA Network 
                      Mental Health America of Northern California
                      National Association of Social Workers 


           DIGEST  :    This bill authorizes a minor who is 12 years of  
          age or older to consent to mental health treatment or  
          counseling on an outpatient basis or to residential shelter  
          services, if specified conditions are met.

           Assembly Amendments  recast and refine the bill with the  
          same effect as when it left the Senate.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law: 

          1. Authorizes a minor who is 12 years of age or older to  
             consent to mental health treatment or counseling, except  
             as specified, on an outpatient basis, or to residential  
             shelter services, if the following two conditions are  
             satisfied: 

             A.    The minor, in the opinion of the attending  
                professional person, is mature enough to participate  
                intelligently in the outpatient services or  
                residential shelter services.
              
             B.    The minor presents a danger of serious physical or  
                mental harm to himself/herself/others, without the  
                treatment, counseling, or residential shelter  
                services, or the minor is an alleged victim of incest  
                or child abuse. 

          2. Requires that a professional person offering residential  
             shelter services make his/her best efforts to notify the  
             parent or guardian of the provision of those services. 

          3. Provides that the mental health treatment or counseling  
             of a minor must include the involvement of the minor's  
             parent or guardian unless, in the opinion of the  
             professional person who is treating or counseling the  
             minor, the involvement would be inappropriate. 


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          4. Defines "professional person" who may provide mental  
             health treatment or counseling to minors. 

          This bill expands the rights of minors to receive  
          outpatient mental health treatment or counseling services.   
          Specifically, this bill: 

          1. Defines "professional person" who can provide mental  
             health treatment or counseling services to a minor age  
             12 or over pursuant to this legislation to include: 

                   A designated mental health professional under  
                specified regulations.

                   A marriage and family therapist, as defined.

                   A licensed educational psychologist, as defined.

                   A credentialed school psychologist, as defined.

                   A clinical psychologist, as defined.

                   A licensed clinical social worker, as defined.

                   A marriage and family therapist registered  
                intern, as defined, working under the supervision of  
                a licensed professional, as defined. 

                   A board certified, or board eligible,  
                psychiatrist. 

          2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, authorizes a  
             minor who is 12 years of age or older to consent to  
             outpatient mental health treatment or counseling, if the  
             minor, in the opinion of the attending professional  
             person, is mature enough to participate intelligently in  
             the mental health treatment or counseling services. 

          3. Provides that the mental health treatment or counseling  
             authorized by this bill shall include involvement of the  
             minor's parent or guardian, unless the professional  
             person, who is treating the minor, after consulting with  
             the minor, determines that such involvement would be  
             inappropriate.  Requires the professional person to  

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             state in the client's record about the contacts with the  
             parent or guardian or why such contact is inappropriate.  


          4. Provides that the minor's parent or guardian is not  
             liable of payment for the mental health treatment or  
             counseling provided by this bill, unless the parent or  
             guardian participates in the treatment or counseling and  
             then only for such services rendered with that  
             participation. 

          5. Specifies that this bill does not authorize a minor to  
             receive convulsive therapy or psychosurgery, as defined,  
             or psychotropic drugs without the consent of the minor's  
             parent or guardian. 

          6. Provides that the expansion of the rights of minors to  
             receive outpatient mental health treatment or counseling  
             services without parental consent permitted by this bill  
             does not apply to the receipt of benefits under the  
             Medi-Cal program. 

           Background

           In 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, the  
          Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), which provides increased  
          funding, personnel, and other resources to support county  
          mental health programs and monitor progress toward  
          statewide goals or children, adolescent youth, adults, and  
          families.  The MHSA imposed a one percent income tax on  
          personal income in excess of $1 million.

          Community stakeholders groups consisting of consumers,  
          families, and service organizations have met to identify  
          barriers to consumer populations not only for MHSA  
          programs, but for all mental health services.  This bill  
          seeks to address the identified barrier of parental consent  
          for youth seeking mental health services. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No    
          Local:  No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/26/10)


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          National Association of Social Workers (co-source)
          Mental Health America of Northern California (co-source)
          Equality California (co-source)
          GSA Network (co-source)
          California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
          California Communities United Institute
          California Primary Care Association
          California Youth Empowerment Network
          Children's Law Center of Los Angeles
          Disability Rights California
          NAMI California
          San Francisco Family and Child Guidance Clinic
          State Board of Equalization Chairwoman Betty T. Yee

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          parental consent for mental health services can create a  
          barrier, especially in prevention and early intervention  
          programs where the youth may not be experiencing serious  
          physical or mental harm.  The author's office asserts that  
          this barrier is especially harmful to certain populations  
          of youth including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender  
          youth, youth from abusive or neglectful homes, youth from  
          immigrant families, homeless youth, and youth whose  
          cultural backgrounds do not condone mental health services.  
           The author's office states that this bill will help ensure  
          that youth do not have to wait until their mental health  
          deteriorates, and their safety is compromised by suicide,  
          substance abuse, or violence to receive services.


          RJG:mw  8/30/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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