93 Kids and the Law 1. The child must be determined to be mentally ill; and 2. The child must be either a serious danger to self or to others, or show an inability to care for self. Since there are other ways (see above) to hospitalize a child for psychiatric pur- poses and since transportation on a Section 12e is by sheriff’s van, Section 12a is generally used. Does the court pay for the hospitalization when the judge orders the evaluation? No. The hospitalization must be paid for by the family’s insurance. The hospi- tal will not admit a child in-patient unless the insurance company has autho- rized it (agreed to pay). Whoever is arranging for the hospitalization must first get this authorization. Some insurance providers will insist that the child be evaluated by their own clinical staff. Insurance providers have different limits on the number of days they will pay for the child to stay in the hospital. While the child is in the hospital, the insurance company may agree to pay for addi- tional days based on a demonstrated need for hospital level of care. The laws regarding mental health hospitalization are found in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 123, Sections 10-12. SUBSTANCE USE PROBLEMS The teen years are often a time of risk-taking and experimentation. Many teens try alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, or other drugs as part of ad- olescent risk-taking. Sometimes they use drugs as a way to cope with strong feelings, or to try to make themselves feel better when they feel anxious and depressed. Teens can develop serious problems with substance use that can lead to life-threatening situations and lifetime struggles. Listed below are some signs of substance use to look out for and have checked out by a trained professional. A pediatrician, school nurse, local hospital, or Family Resource Center can help find a psychiatric social worker, licensed mental health counselor, substance abuse counselor, psychologist, or psychi- atrist to see the child. The Resource chapter in the back of this book provides additional resources. Mental Health and Substance Use Issues 8