New Jersey Assembly Republicans

02/21/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2024 15:30

Azzariti opposes lowering consent age for behavioral health care

TRENTON, N.J. - The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee is poised to consider bills lowering the age minors can consent to behavioral health treatment Thursday, which Assemblyman John Azzariti says is an affront to parental rights and diminishes the importance of family engagement.

Sen. Joseph Vitale's bill (S1970) permits minors who are 13 years of age and older to consent to behavioral health care services, while Sen. Raj Mukherji and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli sponsor a measure (S1188/A2874) lowering the age of consent for minors to receive behavioral health treatment from 16 to 14. Both are on the Senate committee's agenda.

"Parental guidance is critical in the mental and emotional development of our youth. We must foster an approach that supports family engagement rather than diminishes it," Azzariti (R-Bergen) said.

The new assemblyman and medical doctor is calling on lawmakers to create youth mental health policies that prioritize family involvement.

"I urge my fellow legislators to reconsider these bills and to collaborate on policies that strengthen, rather than bypass, the family unit as we address the health needs of our younger citizens," Azzariti said.