New California Law Would Allow Kids To Be Taken From Their Parents Without Evidence Of Abuse

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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A bill signed into law by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom would make it possible for kids to be removed from their parents and placed in shelter services without evidence of child abuse.

Assembly Bill (AB) 665 also allows children 12 years of age and older to consent to “mental health treatment” and to be put in a “residential shelter” on their own in some cases, without having to consult with their parent or guardian. Newsom announced he was signing the bill in an Oct. 7 letter to the California State Assembly. (RELATED: California Passes Bill Threatening Custody Of Parents Who Won’t ‘Affirm’ Their Kids’ Gender)

“This bill would align the existing laws by removing the additional requirement that, in order to consent to mental health treatment or counseling on an outpatient basis, or to residential shelter services, the minor must present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to themselves or to others, or be the alleged victim of incest or child abuse,” according to the bill text.

“This bill would also align the existing laws by requiring the professional person treating or counseling the minor to consult with the minor before determining whether involvement of the minor’s parent or guardian would be inappropriate,” the text continues.

AB665’s definition of “residential shelter service” includes “[t]he provision of residential and other support services to minors on a temporary or emergency basis in a facility that services only minors by a governmental agency, a person or agency having a contract with a governmental agency to provide these services, an agency that receives funding from community funds, or a licensed community care facility or crisis resolution center.”

The bill identifies “LGBTQ+ youth” as a group at risk for suffering depression or anxiety if a parent does not consent to mental health services. The “mental health treatment” identified in the legislation can be administered by a number of individuals, including a “governmental agency” or a “credentialed school psychologist,” according to the bill text.

“Youth ages 12 and older with private health insurance already have the right to consent to their own mental health services, but youth with Medi-Cal coverage do not,” Newsom wrote in a letter announcing AB665’s signing. “This bill extends that right so that minors in Medi-Cal may also consent to their mental health care services. This bill eliminates an eligibility disparity which places lower-income youth who do not have private health insurance at a disadvantage, improving access to lifesaving care for young people.”