For three years, Act 35 has denied parental consent to child’s mental health treatment

To the editor:

The Vermont Supreme Court ruling on parental rights and responsibilities is defined in detail: physical living arrangements, parent child contact, education, medical and dental care, religion, travel and any other matter involving a child’s welfare and upbringing UNTIL Act 35 was voted into law, May 17, 2017. 

Act 35 permits any minor, without age restraints, the ability to give consent to receive any legally authorized outpatient treatment from a mental health professional without parent or legal guardian consent. 

Act 35 assumes all minors possess the mental capacity to give consent.

Act 35 assumes all adults are safe.

Act 35 assumes all mental health care providers are competent.

Act 35 assumes all insurance companies are trustworthy. Act 35 assumes all minors can advocate for their own mental health treatment.

Act 35 doesn’t specify or limit adults to whom the “rights and responsibilities” are designated, once parents are excluded.  Act 35 does not address due process entitlement for each child or parent caught up in its nightmare.  Act 35 is an abuse of legislative powers regarding Vermont families.   

Carol Kauffman, Vergennes