California moves ahead with 'state-sanctioned kidnapping bill'

A California Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Tuesday for and against a bill that would allow a mental health professional to place a child as young as 12 in a residential shelter facility without parental knowledge or consent and without there being any prior allegations of incest or child abuse.

Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo said she was proud to present AB 665 to expand access to mental health care for young people as communities face a mental health crisis, but Erin Friday, attorney and co-founder of parent group Our Duty, called the bill “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”

Family Code 6924, enacted in 2010 by former Governor Schwarzenegger, gave children 12 and over the ability to access mental health counselling without parental consent, but its requires that there be an allegation of abuse or a risk of serious harm before a counsellor can unilaterally send a child to a residential facility.

Friday explained that the intent of 6924 was to prevent suicides, specifically among LGBTQ youth, but cited CDC statistics to show that in the years since 6924 came into effect, the suicide rate for age 10- to 14-year-olds has soared.

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