In September 2020, PA's mental health consent law, Act 147 was replaced by Act 65 of 2020. Act 65 of 2020 allows children age 14 and up to consent for their own mental health treatment which can not be overridden by their parent/legal guardian's refusal. This allowance to seek and receive treatment on their own is valuable and we fully support their right to receive the services they desire.
We also want to make sure families understand this updated law also reaffirms the fact that parents/legal guardians can consent to mental health treatment for their children, of any age, with or without the child's consent.
While we understand that in the past many providers were under the impression that children age 14 and older could refuse treatment, this new law makes it clear that that is NOT the case. Parents/legal guardians can consent to both inpatient and outpatient treatment for their child even over the child's objections.
Are you now or have you recently had trouble with a provider, hospital or residential treatment facility stating that they cannot accept your child for treatment? unless the child provides consent or are they refusing to allow you (the parent/primary caregiver) to provide consent for treatment for your child over age 14? In our effort to ensure providers across the state are in compliance with Act 65 of 2020, we’re asking that families who have or are having consent issues share their experience with us so we can follow up with the system in question to help them understand the recent update.