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JD 1992
JD 1992, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33407
Experience:  Began practicing Family Law in 1992
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I am a psychotherapist. Yesterday, the mother of two children

Customer Question

I am a psychotherapist. Yesterday, the mother of two children I see asked me to write a statement with my recommendations for their treatment. The children are both on probation, ran away to stay with their abusive father, who abuses drugs and alcohol, and one of the children is pregnant and using drugs. The children were picked up as runaways, and they appeared in court today.
I addressed my letter "To Whom It May Concern" and emailed it to the mother. My understanding is that since the mother asked for the information, and it is her legal right to do so, that no release of information was needed. Her distribution of the letter to the court is her choosing. However, I have an request from the children's attorney asking for my release of information to distribute the information in the letter. (Since the mother took the letter to court, everyone wound up with a copy.) Do I actually need a release of information?
Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.
No release of information is needed to share a minor's information with a parent. The Department of Health and Human Services addresses this issue on their website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/special/mhguidance.html
As that webpage mentions, In situations where a minor patient is being treated for a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, additional laws may be applicable. The Federal confidentiality statute and regulations that apply to federally-funded drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs contain provisions that are more stringent than HIPAA. See 42 USC § 290dd–2; 42 CFR 2.11, et. seq.
Generally, that webpage is the best resource for general information about mental health privacy under HIPAA.
If your question has been answered completely then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.
Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

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