When providing counseling services to minors in California, there are certain requirements that must be met. According to Code § 124260, any attempt to contact the parents of a minor must be documented in the child's registry. The American Medical Association states that consent occurs when communication between a patient and the provider results in the patient's agreement to undergo a specific medical service. In the area of school health, most young people are under 18 years of age and therefore need their parents or guardians to consent to receive treatment on their behalf for most services. In California, there are child consent laws that allow young people aged 12 and older to consent to some services.
The therapist would only need authorization from the minor when the minor has actually consented to receive treatment authorized by law in any of the following circumstances: because they are an emancipated or “self-sufficient” minor, or because they have met the criteria for the minor's consent to receive certain services as established by law (for example, according to the Legislative Counsel, California law explicitly allows minors who meet certain criteria to give their consent to receive mental health treatment, which also gives them the corresponding right of access and the right to authorize the release of information).However, under both laws, the child's consent to receive treatment, granted independently of their parents or guardians, requires providers to assess whether the parent or guardian should participate in the treatment plan and document this determination in the child's treatment record. California Civil Code section 56.1.007 allows therapists to disclose confidential information to parents involved in the child's care if the child knows and agrees; and if the child has an opportunity to object, but does not. The Part 2 disclosure protections for minors are more stringent than California laws, and arguably conflict with them in one respect.