Mature Minors

Older children who do not meet the criteria for being emancipated minors may still have authority to give consent for treatment in limited situations. Mature minors are adolescents, generally ages 16-18 years, who are capable of appreciating the nature, extent, and consequences of a recommended medical treatment. This exception is designed to cover situations in which the parents are unable or unwilling to give consent for low-risk treatments that are clearly beneficial. This exception requires the pediatric team to assess the maturity and judgment of the child and the nature of the treatment in question. For example, treatments that involve psychiatric medications may be of higher risk than treatments with psychotherapy. It is important to document the rationale used to justify the belief that the child is competent to give his or her own consent.

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