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Parental Authority Over Minors In Need of Substance Abuse or Other Treatment

Legislative changes were recently made in regard to parental authority over minors in need of substance abuse treatment. Under the revisions to Sec. 51.13, Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, PDF, page 6), the following can now execute a petition for voluntary admission for inpatient treatment, depending on the type of treatment to be provided:

Voluntary admission for treatment of:

Minorís age

Authority needed from:

Substance abuse

14 or older

Parent only

Mental illness, developmental disability

14 or older

Parent and minor

Mental illness, developmental disability or substance abuse

Under 14

Parent only

A minor 14 years or older (or someone acting on the minor's behalf) can apply for voluntary admission for inpatient treatment where the parent or guardian cannot be found or is unreasonably withholding consent for the admission. The court must approve the admission if it finds that the admission is proper and the parent/guardian cannot be found or is unreasonably withholding consent (see Section 51.13(c)1, Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, PDF). If a minor under 14 applies for inpatient treatment and the parent or guardian cannot be found or is unreasonably withholding consent for the admission, the court can approve the admission after holding a hearing on the matter. (See Section 51.13(1)(c)2, Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, PDF).)

Under revisions to Section 51.13(7)(b), Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, PDF), a request for discharge from a voluntary admission must come from:

Discharge from treatment for:  

Minorís age

Request needed from:

Substance abuse

14 or older

Parent only

Mental illness, developmental disability

14 or older

Minor or parent

Mental illness, developmental disability or substance abuse

Under 14

Parent only

If not discharged from treatment within 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays) after such a request, the minor or parent (see above) can petition a court for discharge. (See Section 51.13(7)(c), Wisconsin Statutes.)

Under revisions to section 51.61(6), Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, PDF), consents are required:

Consent for treatment of: Minorís age Consent needed from:
Substance abuse 14 or older Parent only
Mental illness, developmental disability 14 or older Parent and minor
Mental illness, developmental disability or substance abuse Under 14 Parent only

Note: Under Section 51.47, Wisconsin Statutes (exit DHS, minors 12 or over may receive limited treatment for substance abuse (assessment, counseling and detoxification for less than 72 hours) without the parent or guardianís consent. For minors under 12, they can receive those services without consent ONLY if the parent or guardian cannot be found. The parent/guardian must be notified of these services "as soon as practicable" (Sec. 51.47(3), Wis. Stats.).

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Last Updated: July 12, 2010