Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1231.14. Consent of youth receiving mental health services or mental health supports.

(a) Except for those minors hospitalized pursuant to the emergency provisions in subchapter III of Chapter 5 of Title 21, or pursuant to an order of commitment under § 21-545 or § 16-2315, § 16-2320, or § 16-1321 [§ 16-2321], no minor may be admitted for inpatient mental health services absent the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

(b)(1) A provider may deliver outpatient mental health services and mental health supports other than medication to a minor who is voluntarily seeking such services without parental or guardian consent if the provider determines that:

(A) The minor is knowingly and voluntarily seeking the services; and

(B) Provision of the services is clinically indicated for the minor’s well-being.

(2) Mental health services and mental health supports provided to a minor without the consent of a parent or guardian pursuant to subsection (b)(1) of this section shall be limited to a period of 90 days. At the end of the 90-day period, the provider shall either:

(A) Make a new determination pursuant to subsection (b)(1) of this section that provision of services to the minor without parental or guardian consent is voluntarily sought by the minor and continues to be clinically indicated;

(B) Terminate the services; or

(C) With the consent of the minor, notify the parent(s) or guardian to obtain consent to provide further outpatient services.

(3) The provider shall fully document the reasons for its determinations regarding delivery of mental health services to minors, and shall include such documentation in the minor’s clinical record.

(4) A provider may conduct an initial interview of a minor who appears to be voluntarily seeking outpatient mental health services and mental health supports without parental or guardian consent or involvement in order to determine whether the criteria of subsection (b)(1) of this section are satisfied.

(c)(1) Subject to the provisions in § 7-1231.08, and absent an emergency, a hospital providing inpatient mental health services to a minor who is under 16 years of age may not administer psychotropic medication to the minor without the consent of a parent or guardian or the authorization of the court;

(2) A minor who is 16 years of age or older may consent to the administration of psychotropic medications, without the consent of a parent or guardian or the authorization of the court, only under the following circumstances:

(A) When the minor’s parent(s) or guardian is not reasonably available to make a decision regarding the administration of psychotropic medication and the treating physician determines that the minor has capacity to consent, consistent with § 7-1231.08, and that such medications are clinically appropriate;

(B) When requiring consent of the minor’s parent(s) or guardian would have a detrimental effect on the minor, and a determination is made by both the treating physician and a non-treating psychiatrist who is not an employee of the provider that the minor has capacity to consent, consistent with § 7-1231.08, and that such medications are clinically indicated;

(C) When the minor’s parent(s) or guardian refuses to give such consent, and a determination is made by both the treating physician and a non-treating psychiatrist who is not an employee of the provider that the minor has capacity to consent, consistent with § 7-1231.08, and that such medications are clinically indicated. Notice of the provider’s decision to administer medications pursuant to this subsection shall be provided to the parent(s) or guardian in writing.


(Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 214, 48 DCR 7674.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 214 of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).