Treating or evaluating children of divorced, separated, or never-married parents is complex and challenging for mental health professionals. The work involves legal issues: Who can consent to the child’s treatment? Who can authorize disclosure of the child’s treatment information to themselves or third parties? When can minors consent to their own treatment/evaluation? In addition, the work often involves many potentially high-risk situations that require good risk management skills. For example, how does the mental health professional balance the parents’ need to know about their child’s therapy with the child’s need for privacy? How does the MHP manage the parents’ attempts to use their child’s therapy in their disputes with one another? How can MHPs best structure the therapy to maintain their neutrality and keep the focus on the child? Dr. Joe Scroppo will equip practitioners with basic legal and risk management knowledge regarding these considerations and will provide some techniques and approaches to minimize risk to themselves.
Identify legal concepts that govern parental responsibilities and rights, children’s rights, and society’s rights in the context of the mental health treatment of minors, demonstrate risk management techniques when working with children of separated or divorced parents, and utilize methods to balance the parents’ desire to know about the minor’s communications with the child’s need for confidentiality.