California Democrats on Tuesday advanced a bill that would let children as young as 12 years old check into group homes without parental consent, which critics say would enable the “state-sanctioned kidnapping” of children.
The state’s Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the bill, which would allow mental health professionals to commit children to residential facilities upon request, even if the child had not claimed abuse or neglect. The bill instructs counselors to determine whether or not to inform a patient’s parents “after consulting with the minor.” The bill’s authors say their bill is meant to address recent increases in suicide among “youth, particularly Black and Latinx youth.”
“For LGBTQ+ youth, the rejection from parents, harassment in school, and the overall LGBTQ negativity present in society can lead to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, and other negative outcomes. Over one-half of surveyed LGBTQ+ youth reported that not being able to get permission from their parents or guardians was sometimes or always a barrier to accessing mental health services,” the bill reads.
Critics say these provisions reveal the bill’s true intention: helping lawmakers and mental health professionals take custody of children whose parents don’t support their efforts to change genders.
“This bill is state-sanctioned kidnapping,” Erin Friday, a San Francisco lawyer, said during a Tuesday committee hearing. Friday, a longtime Democrat, helps lead Our Duty, an international support network for parents of the growing number of children who think they are transgender.