LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Are you a Minor who needs to talk to someone? You can see a psychologist or social worker without your parents knowing.

The Michigan Mental Health Code provides in section 330.1707 that mental health professionals may treat minor children who are at least age 14 without the consent or knowledge of the minor’s parent or guardian. In fact, the health professional cannot, without the consent of the minor, inform the parent or guardian of the mental health services. The treatment has to be on an outpatient basis and cannot extend for more than twelve sessions or fourth months of services after which time the treatment can continue but only with parental consent.

MCL 330.1707 provides:

(1) A minor 14 years of age or older may request and receive mental health services and a mental health professional may provide mental health services, on an outpatient basis, excluding pregnancy termination referral services and the use of psychotropic drugs, without the consent or knowledge of the minor’s parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the minor’s parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis shall not be informed of the services without the consent of the minor unless the mental health professional treating the minor determines that there is a compelling need for disclosure based on a substantial probability of harm to the minor or to another individual, and if the minor is notified of the mental health professional’s intent to inform the minor’s parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis.

(2) Services provided to a minor under this section shall, to the extent possible, promote the minor’s relationship to the parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis, and shall not undermine the values that the parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis has sought to instill in the minor.

(3) Services provided to a minor under this section shall be limited to not more than 12 sessions or 4 months per request for services. After the twelfth session or fourth month of services the mental health professional shall terminate the services or, with the consent of the minor, notify the parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis to obtain consent to provide further outpatient services.

(4) The minor’s parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis is not liable for the costs of services that are received by a minor under subsection (1).

(5) This section does not relieve a mental health professional from his or her duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect under section 3 of the child protection law, Act No. 238 of the Public Acts of 1975, being section 722.623 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

Discussion:

  1. I contend that "outpatient" in this situation refers to services that are not "inpatient", rather than Outpatient versus case mangement, which is an outpatient service.

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