New Minor Consent Law for Mental Health Services in Maryland (Senate Bill 41 - The Mental Health Access Initiative)
LCPCM supported and testified on behalf of Senate Bill 41, which lowers the age of consent from 16 to 12 years of age for those seeking mental health treatment. A child in Maryland may now seek and receive treatment without parental consent in the same capacity as an adult, if the licensed provider has determined that the child is mature and capable of giving informed consent. It is within the professional discretion of the treatment provider to decide if, when, and how to inform parents, unless the provider believes that the disclosure will lead to harm to the minor. This law went into effect on October 1, 2021.
Of course, the goal of all good child psychotherapy is to involve the parents and family, but this new law gives a licensed provider the opportunity to assess the mental health concern of a youth in crisis and in other serious situations. There are two caveats, however: (1) the new law does not apply to medication-based treatment, and (2) when a minor 12-15 offers consent, insurance claims cannot be made without parental permission and the parent is not liable for the treatment fees.
The law is intended to remove unreasonable barriers to mental health services for youth with suicidal ideation and other critical circumstances. Additionally, this law is intended to support special subpopulations of youth, such as those in the LGBTQIA+ community and those needing emergency attention from Mobile Crisis Teams in circumstances where a parent cannot be reached or refuses consent.
You can access the text of SB 41 on the Maryland General Assembly website. You can also view the School Based Health Care's Webinar on the new minor consent law by clicking on the following link: https://vimeo.com/620126737