Teens in California can now receive counseling from licensed social workers without the consent of their parents after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 543. Youths can skip parental approval if a therapist deems tham mature enough to do so, and the youth demonstrates that seeking such consent would put them at risk. One obvious example would be teens who wish to discuss their sexuality but are afraid to tell that to their parents.
Gay rights groups in the state heralded the new law, which comes after a recent spate of suicides stemming from bullying of gay teens and young adults. One conservative group believes the bill will undermine the authority of parents.