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California Democrats want therapists to be able to counsel 12-year-olds on gender identity and sign off on their admission to shelters without parental consent — even if there's no abuse at home
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California Democrats want therapists to be able to counsel 12-year-olds on gender identity and sign off on their admission to shelters without parental consent — even if there's no abuse at home

Democrats in California are pushing legislation that would reportedly enable therapists to sign off on 12-year-olds' admission to state-run housing facilities without their families being notified, even if there is no threat of abuse or self-harm at home.

Assembly Bill 655, introduced by Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo in February and approved this week by Democrats on the state Senate Judiciary Committee, would also allow kids to receive counsel on gender identity from school psychologists, therapists, and uncredentialed trainees without parental consent.

Carillo's coauthor on the bill is state Sen. Scott Wiener, who previously claimed that "the word groomer is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word," then advanced a law that made California a sanctuary state for child sex-change mutilations.

In addition to his responsibility for a law (SB145) permitting judges to decide not to place a man on the sex offender registry if he statutorily raped a grade schooler ten years his junior between the ages of 14 and 17, orally or anally, Wiener is also cosponsor on AB957, which passed the State Assembly in May and would make any parents who do not affirm their child's gender dysphoria guilty of abuse, according to the Daily Signal.

An "AP Fact Check" suggested Carrillo's and Wiener's AB655 just amends the state's Family Code to allow minors to receive mental health counseling or therapy — including on their gender identity — without parental consent, echoing Carrillo's claim that "this bill makes no changes to the processes of the child welfare system in California and no changes to the processes of removal."

Contrariwise, the Federalist reported that the legislation creates a "horrifying loophole" making it "possible for children to leave their current family — with essentially zero notice to their parents, and zero allegations of abuse, neglect, incest, harm, or danger, as is currently required by California law."

AB655 notes that under the existing law, a minor who is 12 years of age or older can "consent to mental health treatment or counseling on an outpatient basis, or to residential shelter services, if the minor is mature enough to participate intelligently in the outpatient services or residential shelter services, as specified, and either the minor would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to themselves or to others or if the minor is the alleged victim of incest or child abuse."

Carrillo's and Wiener's bill eliminates the requirement that a 12-year-old must be in danger of harm, self-inflicted or otherwise, in order to provide such consent.

Carrillo reasoned, "By eliminating the serious harm/incest or child abuse condition, the bill ensures that minors with bad home situations will have the option of seeking shelter at a safe place, rather than living on the street or being cajoled into staying with people who do not have their best interests at heart."

The Federalist noted that children are not presently able to opt into a "residential shelter" without parental consent unless a so-called professional person deems them mature enough and to be at risk of abuse or self-harm.

"AB665 proposes striking from the Family Code the four guardrails currently in place as criteria for a minor to leave his home, and would permit 12-year-olds to leave their families and go to a residential shelter without any notice to their parents and without claim — let alone proof— of harm (abuse, incest, danger)," reported the Federalist.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that some critics have suggested this bill amounts to "child emancipation."

Nicole Pearson, an attorney who gave testimony against the bill to a state Senate panel, said, "The authors want to change the law to let a 12-year-old opt out of their home on a whim, invoking parental separation and emancipation of minors without any claim of danger or parental consent. ... This is child emancipation."

Opponents of the legislation also noted that by "granting such discretionary power to professionals, AB 665 undermines the fundamental role of parents in the lives of their children and disregards their inherent right to make informed decisions regarding their child’s welfare."

"Mental health treatment or counseling services" under the proposed legislation could be provided by a governmental agency, a government subcontractor, an agency that receives funding from community united funds, a runaway house or crisis resolution center, or a so-called "professional person."

AB655 also expands the definition of "professional person," adding "a registered psychologist, a registered psychological assistant, a psychological trainee, an associate clinical social worker, a social work intern, a clinical counselor trainee working under the supervision of a licensed professional, and a board-certified psychiatrist" to the list of those who qualify.

Accordingly, the person who determines whether or not parents should be involved in decisions about what therapies their 12-year-old undergoes or what runaway homes they are transferred to can be junior pseudo-professionals.

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