Client Rights: Minors, Discharge

The information provided below relates to individuals under the age of 18 who are receiving services for developmental disability, mental health, and/or substance use. The rules are complex. The information provided below does not constitute legal advice. It is intended to be used as general guidance on these issues. For more information, review the following publication: Rights of Minors Receiving Services for Development Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Use, P-01844 (PDF).  

When can/should a minor be discharged?

Any minor who is self-admitted to inpatient treatment may request discharge in writing. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7)(b)(1).

There are exceptions. 

  • Under age 14: The parent/guardian can request discharged if the minor was admitted only for developmental disability, mental health, and/or substance use.
  • Age 14 to 17: Only the parent/guardian can request discharge if the minor was admitted for substance use.
  • Age 14 to 17: The minor and parent/guardian can request discharge if the minor was admitted for developmental disability and/or mental health. If parent/guardian refuses to request the minor’s discharge and the director agrees in writing that the minor is in need of services, the facility’s therapy or treatment is appropriate, and inpatient treatment is the least restrictive consistent with the minor’s needs, the director may hold the minor. 

Discharge of a 14-year-old who still needs services can be avoided: 

  • If a minor is admitted to an inpatient treatment facility while under 14 years of age, and if upon reaching age 14 is in need of further inpatient care and treatment primarily for mental illness or developmental disability, the director of the facility must request the minor and the minor's parent/guardian complete an application for admission. 
  • If the minor refuses, the minor's parent/guardian may complete the application on the minor's behalf. Such an application must be completed within 30 days prior to a minor's 14th birthday. 
  • If the application is completed, a petition for review must be filed unless such a review has been held within the last 120 days. 
  • If the application is not completed by the time of the minor's 14th birthday, the minor must be discharged unless a petition or statement is filed for emergency detention, emergency commitment, involuntary commitment, or protective placement by the end of the next day in which the court transacts business. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7)(a). 

If a minor can and does request discharge, or if a minor’s parent/guardian can and does request discharge, or if both the minor and the parent/guardian request discharge, the minor must be discharged within 48 (working) hours unless a petition for emergency detention, emergency commitment, involuntary commitment, or protective placement is filed. 

If discharge is required and the minor is not discharged within 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays) after a discharge request, the minor can petition the court for discharge. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7)(c). 

Upon receipt of any written request by a minor for discharge, the director of the facility must immediately notify the minor’s parent/guardian, if available.

What are the rules for a minor who is 14 years or older and admitted for mental health or developmental disability?
The rules are largely the same. If a minor or their parent/guardian requests discharge in writing, the minor must be discharged within 48 hours after submission of the request, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, unless a petition or statement is filed for emergency detention, emergency commitment, involuntary commitment, or protective placement. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7).

What are the rules for a minor under 14 years of age who is admitted for the primary purpose of treatment for mental illness, developmental disability, or substance use?
If the minor’s parent/guardian requests discharge in writing, the minor must be discharged within 48 hours after submission of the request, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, unless a petition or statement is filed for emergency detention, emergency commitment, involuntary commitment, or protective placement. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7).

Who should be informed of their rights regarding records at the time of discharge?
All clients must be informed of their rights regarding their records at the time of discharge. Wis. Stat. § 51.30(d)(4).

What if the  minor is not discharged?

He or she can submit a written request to the court for a hearing to determine the continued appropriateness of the admission, unless he or she lacked parent/guardian consent to be admitted.

What if the minor acts like they want to leave?

  • If the director or staff of the inpatient treatment facility to which a minor is admitted observes conduct by the minor that demonstrates an unwillingness to remain at the facility, including a written expression of opinion or unauthorized absence, the director must file a written request with the court to determine the continued appropriateness of the admission.
  • A request that is made personally by a minor under this paragraph must be signed by the minor but need not be written or composed by the minor.
  • A request for a hearing under this paragraph that is received by staff or the director of the facility in which the minor is admitted must be filed with the court by the director. 
  • The court must order a review hearing upon request if no hearing concerning the minor's admission has been held within 120 days before court receipt of the request. Wis. Stat. § 51.13(7).

 

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Last Revised: May 16, 2019