Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Client Rights: Admitting Minors to Outpatient Treatment

There are rules for children to receive outpatient developmental disability, mental health, or substance use treatment. We provide guidance below on these rules. This is not legal advice.

Can a child receive outpatient treatment without a parent’s or legal guardian’s consent?

If the child refuses alcohol or other drug abuse outpatient treatment, their consent for testing, assessment, or treatment isn’t needed. Their parent or guardian may agree to have them tested for alcohol or other drugs. Their parent or guardian may also agree to have the child assessed for substance use.

What is a review by a mental health review officer, and when should it occur?

A mental health review is an analysis of the consent provided for admission to outpatient treatment.

Find more information

What is judicial review?

  • Within 21 days, the child, or someone acting on their behalf, may file a petition for a court to review the parent’s or guardian’s refusal to consent.
  • The petition must contain the same things required for the review by the mental health review officer. If the child refused consent, it must be noted on the petition’s front page. The child may be entitled to a lawyer.
  • The court should hold a hearing on the petition for judicial review within 21 days of its filing.
  • The child, their parent or guardian, lawyer, and anyone interested, must be informed of the hearing by mail at least four days before it occurs.
  • Evidence must be clear, fair, and convincing.
  • After the hearing, the court may say parent or guardian consent isn’t needed. In addition, it may say the child’s treatment is appropriate as long as the parent or guardian gave consent.
  • A finding by judicial review doesn’t mean a mental illness is present.

A judicial review decision can be appealed to the court of appeals.

Last revised April 4, 2022