Avoiding Liability Bulletin – April 2005

… One area where I get repeated questions involves the right of parents to access the mental health records of their minor children. State law varies greatly and in fine nuance as to a parent’s right to access the records and information of their minor child. Some states require or permit the therapist to deny access to the records if the therapist determines that it would endanger the minor physically or psychologically. California, in recognition of the importance of confidentiality, requires the therapist, among other things, to deny access when the therapist determines that access to the minor’s records would have a detrimental effect on the therapist’s professional relationship with the minor (a very broad standard that protects confidentiality). What’s the law in your state? Don’t wait. Seek the answer now and be prepared!

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Richard Leslie

Richard S. Leslie is an attorney and acknowledged expert on the interrelationship between law and the practice of marriage and family therapy and psychotherapy. Most recently, he was a consultant to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and has written articles regarding legal and ethical issues for their Family Therapy Magazine. Prior to his work with AAMFT, Richard was Legal Counsel to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for approximately twenty-two years. While there, he also served as their director of Government Relations and tirelessly advocated for due process and fairness for licensees and applicants.

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