I recently finished a 2-day course for district court judges that focused on children with significant mental health needs. There were lots of questions about the admission and discharge process for a child who is in a county department’s (DSS) custody and who needs treatment in a psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF). It’s complicated because there are two separate but simultaneously occurring court actions:
- the abuse, neglect, or dependency (A/N/D) action that addresses a child’s custody, placement, and services; and
- the judicial review of a child’s voluntary admission to a secure psychiatric treatment facility that was made with the consent of the child’s legally responsible person.
The two actions involve different parties, courts, purposes, and laws, and they are often not coordinated even though they directly impact each other. Continue Reading