12 Oct 2020
'Camilla Parker set herself a hugely difficult task in identifying and seeking to make sense of the overlapping, tangled, and frequently incoherent and mutually inconsistent legal frameworks relating to the mental health care of those under 18. It is a task which many have recognised as necessary before, but which has not been done to date, much to the detriment of the interests of the children and young people concerned. All those who work with such clients – importantly, including professionals seeking to discharge their functions in relation to those clients – owe Camilla a debt for taking it on, and doing so well. The result of her work is a tour de force. Not only does it cover everything that you might be going to a book on this subject to find, and does so with sure-footed accuracy and helpful summary route-maps at key points, but with all the best books, it also includes matters that you would not realise that you should be aware of.' Alex Ruck Keene, Capacity Law
The law relating to the mental health care of children and young people aged under 18 (‘adolescents’) is renowned for its complexity. This is unsurprising given that in relation to admission to hospital and treatment for mental disorder, it raises issues of uncertainty such as the limits of the decision-making powers as between parents and their children and the developing law on deprivation of liberty. More widely, the provision of mental health services for this age group involves a range of differing agencies and engages a raft of legislation, case-law, regulations, codes of practice and policy guidance across the differing fields of law: mental health, mental capacity, community care, family and children’s rights.
•This book seeks to demystify this area of law. It covers:
•an overview of the services forming the system known as ‘CAMHS’ (child and adolescent mental health services), including the responsibilities of local authorities for the provision of care to ‘children in need’, ‘looked after children’ and under 18s with special educational needs;
•decision-making by adolescents and those with parental responsibility, including the legal tests for capacity and competence and the determination of a deprivation of liberty;
•the application of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to under 18s, including an overview of the forthcoming ‘Liberty Protection Safeguards’;
•the rules for identifying ‘parental responsibility’ and the ‘nearest relative’;
•admission to hospital and treatment for mental disorder, both ‘informal’ and detention under the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983, including consideration of the ‘age appropriate environment duty’ and the on-going responsibilities of local authorities for under 18s receiving in-patient psychiatric care;
•discharge from hospital, focusing on the role of the Tribunal and specific issues for adolescents;
•after-care planning: how the various legal frameworks for the provision of health and social care apply to adolescents leaving hospital; and
•community powers: including community treatment orders (CTOs) and police powers.
In drawing together the differing legal frameworks that might apply to adolescents with mental health needs, this book seeks to bridge a gap in the information currently available. To date, resources concerned with mental health and/or mental capacity law, tend to focus on adults while those concerned with children’s services rarely consider the specific issues for adolescents with mental health needs, or how legal frameworks, such as provisions for looked after children, interact with the MHA 1983.
In addition to providing a resource for legal advisers such as those providing legal representation before the mental health tribunal, this book is also designed to be accessible to non-lawyers including professionals working in children’s services and mental health services (adult as well as children and young people’s services).
Watch our panel discussion launching the book: