Who can give consent for minors to be admitted to acute or long-term inpatient care?

  • Admission to any inpatient setting requires a determination of medical necessity, financial eligibility, and willingness of the program to admit the youth.
  • The following are referred to as voluntary admissions:
    • For all minors under 13 years of age, a parent must give consent.
    • A minor 13-18 years of age and their parents may jointly give consent.
    • A minor 13-18 years of age may give consent for admission without parental agreement.
  • The treatment facility must notify the parents in a way that will most likely reach the parent within twenty-four hours of the admission. RCW 71.34.044
  • Involuntary admission:
    • In the event of any minor 13 years of age or older (and/or his/her parent) refuses admission, the minor may be evaluated and detained involuntarily by a DMHP (DMHP) in accordance with RCW 71.34.
  • If the DMHP makes a decision that the minor does not require inpatient treatment, the parent can seek review of that decision made by the DMHP in court. RCW 71.34
  • Parent initiated admission
    (an option created in 1995 through legislation known as the At Risk Youth or "Becca" bill):

    •  A parent may give consent for admission of their minor child. The consent of the minor is not required. RCW 71.34
    • A parent may give consent for continued in patient care in the event his/her previously unwilling minor child requests discharge during an inpatient stay. RCW 71.34
    • Providers are not obligated to provide treatment to a minor under the provisions of this section. RCW 71.34 (4)
    • ​This is NOT considered an “involuntary admission” in spite of the fact it is against the minor's will.