85 Kids and the Law For a child with private insurance, the parent may take the child directly to a local hospital emergency department for evaluation. * MassHealth is the Massachusetts Medicaid Program. It provides health ben- efits for people who meet specific eligibility criteria. Usually a person who has a disability, and/or falls under a certain income level qualifies for MassHealth. What happens in an evaluation? The clinician will speak with the child’s parent or teacher to get background information and will speak directly with the child to try to understand what is causing their distress. For example, the clinician will ask whether the child has a mental or behavioral health diagnosis and is already receiving services, in- cluding therapy and/or medication. The clinician will call the child’s therapist or psychiatrist to gain their understanding of the problem. Regardless of where the evaluation occurs, the goal is to stabilize the child and prevent multiple visits to the hospital emergency department and hospitalization. What key standards determine if a child needs hospital level of care? The clinician will try to determine: 1. If the child is mentally ill (for example, psychotic or acutely depressed and suicidal); and 2. If the child is a serious danger to self or to others, or shows an inability to care for self. When might it be considered necessary to hospitalize a child on an involuntary basis? If a physician, qualified psychiatric nurse mental health clinical specialist, qualified psychologist, licensed independent clinical social worker, or, in an emergency, a police officer, believes that failure to hospitalize a child will cre- ate a likelihood of serious harm due to the child’s mental illness, they can apply to have the child involuntarily hospitalized for up to three days. The applica- tion form allows the child to be restrained and transported to a hospital. Some- times this is referred to as hospitalizing a child on a “section” or a “pink paper,” named for the section of the law and the color of the evaluation form. Mental Health and Substance Use Issues 8