A new California Assembly bill, AB 665, would require the professional person treating or counseling a minor to consult with the minor before determining whether involvement of the minor's parent or guardian would be appropriate.
Existing law requires that the mental health treatment or counseling of a child include involvement of the minor’s parent or guardian unless the professional person treating or counseling the minor determines that the involvement would be inappropriate.
Matthew McReynolds, deputy chief counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute-Center for Public Policy in Sacramento, California, said: "Children in crisis need their parents' care and concern. Where there are credible allegations of abuse, existing law provides avenues for minors to seek and obtain mental health and other necessary treatment from other responsible adults. AB 665 is a wholesale abandonment of the fundamental principle that fit parents are the primary caretakers and decision-makers for their children's health, including mental health.
Excluding parents from this process is likely unconstitutional and unwise, McReynolds said: "The legislation offers only ambiguity as to when a parent's involvement is important. Decisions for their dependents will be deemed 'inappropriate.' This determination is far too important to leave to chance or to arbitrary interpretation."
Parental rights advocate Erin Friday told "Fox & Friends" that the new legislation would amount to an abrogation of parental rights. "I call this bill the state-sanctioned kidnapping bill, because there doesn't need to be any allegation of abuse against a parent or a serious threat of suicide of the child before a school counselor can unilaterally decide to take that child and place them in a residential facility."
"In the world of transgenderism," she continued, "that means that a child who goes to a school counselor and says that they are transgender and that their parent won't support them, that child can be whisked off to a LGBTQ community facility and not come home from school that day. This bill is terrifying, and it should terrify every parent in the country, because what we do here in California gets passed along in other states."
The bill's advocates say the legislation would expand mental healthcare access to Black and Latino children as well as LGBTQ+ youth.
"Over one-half of surveyed LGBTQ+ youth reported that not being able to get permission from their parents or guardians was sometimes or always a barrier to accessing mental health services," the bill states.
But critics say the legislation is the state's latest ploy to strip parents of their rights, all at the expense of state taxpayers.
The bill passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, which makes it one step closer to becoming law.
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