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Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. – Author Unknown .

 During adolescent well child checks or sometimes on certain office visits, your child's provider may politely ask you for a few minutes to talk alone with your child regarding certain issues that adolescents are sometime uncomfortable discussing with their parents in the room.

Adolescents have gained many opportunities to receive confidential health care services, particularly for concerns related to sexual activity, pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), substance abuse and mental health. Protection of confidentiality for adolescents has been based on recognition that some minors would not seek needed health care if they could not receive it confidentially, and that their forgoing care would have negative health implications for them as well as society.

It is mutually understood that any information the young patient shares during one on one conversation with the physician remains in strict confidence unless in the doctor’s judgment the teen poses a danger to himself or to others or has been abused. 

Summary of Washington state health care services that can be provided to a minor without parental consent:

  • Anyone who is married can consent for their own health care. A person who is legally married (even if they are 17) is no longer a minor in terms of the law.
  • Mental Health: A minor who is 13 years or older can consent for inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment without a parent or guardian.
  • Substance Use: Anyone age 13 or older can consent for inpatient or outpatient substance use treatment.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV screening and treatment: Minors age 14 and older can be treated for STI’s without parent consent. This diagnosis and treatment remains confidential.
  • Reproductive Health (contraception, pregnancy termination): There is no legal age limit to consent for reproductive health services 

For more details click here.

Well Adolescent Annual Physical

Communicating With Your Teen

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