Legal Aspects of High Risk Interventions

As Kennedy and Mohr have noted (2001), the treatment of children by mental health professionals?particularly in an institutional setting?implicates three sets of important, and frequently competing, interests. The first of these is the parental interest in preserving family autonomy: minimizing state interference in decisions made about what constitutes the best interests of their children, and their right to transmit to those children their particular personal and cultural values. The second is the state?s interest in protecting the child, preventing or controlling antisocial behavior, and, in furtherance of those goals, providing a system of mental-health care. Finally, there are the child?s own interests in ?being cared for, loved, and helped to become an autonomous individual with the rights and privileges of an adult? (Hopcroft, 1995).