A California Democrat has proposed 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.
The stated purpose of AB 665, introduced by Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo, is to bring two existing laws into alignment. Currently children age 12 and over are able to consent to receiving mental health treatment or counseling services but cannot consent to being placed into a residential shelter facility unless deemed either a risk to themselves or others, or in cases where the minor is an alleged victim of incest or child abuse. AB 665 seeks to remove these caveats.
The bill is strongly opposed by Our Duty, an international group of parents of children who are, or were, gender-questioning, who believe the law would amount to “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”
According to Erin Friday, co-lead of Our Duty, the bill will give counselors unfettered control over children age 12 and above. In a letter to the state assembly, Friday gives the example of a hypothetical 6th grader who informs her school counselor that she is a “trans boy.” Friday argues that if AB 665 were to be enacted, that child may not come home from school that day but could instead be sent to an “LGBTQ housing facility.”
“The parents will have no idea what happened to their child,” writes Friday. “Imagine their fear and anxiety. These parents are criminalized without an accusation, evidence or trial.”
AB 665 states that a “shocking 78 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who were surveyed shared they had considered suicide,” and most had done so in the last year, and that nearly one-third had made an attempt in the past year.
The bill goes on to state that LGBTQ+ youth experience depression and anxiety, as well as other negative outcomes, due to rejection from parents, harassment in school, and the “overall LGBTQ negativity present in society.”
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