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November 14, 2007

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HEAD START PASSES

Parental Consent for Mental Screening Removed in Conference Committee
(See "A Federal Curriculum for Preschoolers")

On Wednesday, November 14th, both the House and the Senate passed the federal Head Start reauthorization without the requirement for parental consent for mental screening of their children that was in the version the passed the House last May.

Here is the full language that was passed by the House on May 2, 2007 before it went over to the Senate:

SEC. 645B. PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT FOR HEALTH CARE SERVICES.

`(a) Definitions- For purposes of this section:

`(1) The term `health care service' includes--

`(A) any nonemergency intrusive physical examination; and

`(B) any screening, including but not limited to, a medical, dental, developmental, mental health, social, or behavioral screening.

`(2) The term `nonemergency intrusive physical examination' means, with respect to a child, a physical examination that--

`(A) is not immediately necessary to protect the health or safety of such child, or the health or safety of another individual; and

`(B) includes incision or is otherwise invasive, or includes exposure of private body parts.

`(b) Requirement- Before administering any health care service to a child (or referring a child to obtain such service) in connection with participation in a program under this subchapter, a Head Start agency and an entity that receives assistance under section 645A shall obtain the written consent of a parent of such child indicating consent for each specific health care service to be performed.

`(c) Rule of Construction-

`(1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a Head Start agency or an entity that receives assistance under section 645A from using established methods for handling cases of suspected or known child abuse and neglect, that are in compliance with applicable Federal, State, or tribal law.

`(2) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to permit a Head Start agency, an entity that receives assistance under section 645A, or the personnel of such agency or entity to administer any health care service to a child (or to refer a child to obtain such service) without the informed written consent of a parent of such child indicating consent for each specific health care service to be performed.

`(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a Head Start agency or an entity that receives assistance under section 645A to provide separate consent forms for each specific health care service.'.

Here is the language that came out of the conference committee on November 9th and was passed by both the House and Senate this Wednesday, November 14th:

SEC. 657A. PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT FOR NONEMERGENCY INTRUSIVE PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS.

`(a) Definition- The term `nonemergency intrusive physical examination' means, with respect to a child, a physical examination that--

`(1) is not immediately necessary to protect the health or safety of the child involved or the health or safety of another individual; and

`(2) requires incision or is otherwise invasive, or involves exposure of private body parts.

`(b) Requirement- A Head Start agency shall obtain written parental consent before administration of any nonemergency intrusive physical examination of a child in connection with participation in a program under this subchapter.

`(c) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit agencies from using established methods, for handling cases of suspected or known child abuse and neglect, that are in compliance with applicable Federal, State, or tribal law.'.

Please thank House members who had the courage to oppose this bill. Thank them for supporting the authority of parents over the mental health care of their very young children. ( Roll no. 1090).


105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

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